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Likely Voters Closely Divided on Temporary Extension of Proposition 30 — Most Support Cigarette Tax

October 1, 2015

Half of California’s likely voters favor extending Proposition 30’s temporary tax increases, which support K-14 education. But support declines when those in favor of an extension are asked about making the increases permanent. Support is considerably higher for raising taxes on the purchase of cigarettes, with a strong majority in favor.

These are among the key findings of a statewide survey released on September 30 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), with funding from The James Irvine Foundation.

The survey began amid discussions about turning a number of tax proposals into citizens’ initiatives for the 2016 ballot. Two ballot measures (with petitions currently in circulation) have been proposed to extend aspects of Proposition 30, which temporarily raised taxes on sales and on high earners to fund schools and public safety realignment. One of the proposals would make tax increases permanent.

California voters approved Proposition 30 in November 2012 a margin of 55 to 45 percent – and at the time, Gov. Jerry Brown promised that Proposition 30 would not be extended without the approval of voters. Proposition 30 provided for a personal income tax increase over seven years for California residents with an annual income over $250,000 (US), through the end of 2018. Proposition 30 also provided for an increase in the state sales tax by 0.25 percent over four years (from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2016).

When likely voters are asked if they favor extending the Prop. 30 tax increases – set to fully expire in 2018 – in their current form, 49 percent are in favor and 46 percent are opposed. Democrats (64%) are more likely than independents (49%) and nearly twice as likely as Republicans (33%) to be in favor. Only 32 percent of likely voters prefer making the Prop. 30 increases permanent.

A proposal to tax the extraction of oil and gas also falls short of majority support, with 49 percent of likely voters in favor. Support is higher for two other tax proposals being discussed. A majority of likely voters (55%) favor changing Proposition 13 so that commercial properties are taxed according to their current market value. Most Democrats (65%) and independents (56%) favor this "split roll" approach to Proposition 13, and most Republicans (55%) oppose it. Support is stronger for the idea of increasing cigarette taxes – 66 percent of likely voters are in favor, and majorities across party lines support it.

Sources:  Public Policy Institute of California, EdBrief staff.

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