The Roundup

Feb 24, 2012

Taxes, taxes

Californians are showing surprising support for proposals aimed at the November ballot that would raise billions of dollars for education and public safety through new taxes on the wealthy. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed in the latest Field Poll back the plan backed by the California Federation of Teachers, and well over half support Gov. Brown's attempt to boost income and sales taxes to raise $7 billion annually over five years. The proposal by civil rights attorney Molly Munger drew support from just under half of those surveyed.


From the Field Poll: "The CFT tax initiative is receiving the greatest levels of voter support, the Governor’s proposal the next highest, and the Munger initiative the least backing across virtually all subgroups of the electorate. Among Democrats, 80% back the CFT initiative, 74% support the Governor’s proposal and 56% favor the Munger initiative. Similarly, among non-partisans, the percentages are 63% in favor of the CFT proposal, 58% for the Governor’s proposal and 47% supporting the Munger initiative. Republicans oppose each initiative by margins ranging from 57% to 68%."


Majorities of women, Latinos, African-American and Asian-Americans, San Francisco Bay Area voters, liberals, and voters earning less than $40,000 annually back each initiative. However, the
same general order of preferences is seen, with the CFT proposal receiving the greatest support and the Munger initiative least support."


Although her survey numbers aren't as good as those of he rivals, Molly Munger is rolling the dice and pressing on.


From the Bee's Dan Morain: "Munger is the wealthy Los Angeles attorney who is bankrolling a signature drive to place an initiative on the November ballot that would raise income taxes by $10 billion a year and deliver the bulk of it directly to public schools."


"On Thursday, she and her supporters including the PTA held a press conference to announce that they are pressing ahead. The public loves the idea, they said. Voters want to restore public schools to what they once were, they said."

The Legislature's nonpartisan financial adviser, the Legislative Analyst, says the state should hold off on building new prison medical facilities, a finding that directly contradicts the position of the court-appointed prison health-carfe receiver, who says new facilties are needed.
From the LAT's Chris Megerian: "Although the legislative analyst's office said some medical facilities remain in "poor condition," it questioned whether new construction will be necessary. The prison population is declining thanks to realignment, the process of routing low-level offenders to county jails instead of prisons to reduce overcrowding."

"Realignment may make it possible to close some prisons in the future," the report states. "It would be unwise to make significant infrastructure investments at such facilities at this time."


"Kelso has said he's open to evaluating the effect of realignment, but has insisted that some new medical facilities will be necessary."


 Health care wasn't the only aspect of the prison system examined by the LAO: California prisons' population is set to decline by a fourth over the next five years, the result of a shift of some inmates to local custody.


From HealthyCal's Dan Weintraub: "California’s prisons will have 40,000 fewer inmates by 2017 and the state will be supervising 51,000 fewer parolees thanks to an historic shift of responsibility for low-level criminals from the state to county governments, according to a report released Thursday."


"The shift, prompted by the state’s need to reduce prison overcrowding and improve the delivery inmate health care while also saving money, appears to be on its way to meeting all of those objectives, according to the report, from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. But the realignment of state and local responsibilities for criminal justice programs has not been a complete success."


Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca backs the notion of allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, as long as they have been in the country for several years without committing other crimes.


From the LAT's Robert Faturechi, Joel Rubin and Paloma Esquivel: "Baca said such licenses should only be issued after illegal immigrants fill out comprehensive applications, similar to those for citizenship. The sheriff also said the licenses should be up for renewal annually, and be noticeably different than those issued to citizens."


"There's enough potential for Chief Beck's idea for it to be explored," Baca said Thursday."


"The sheriff has expressed openness to illegal immigrants being issued driver’s licenses before. In 2002, he supported a proposal to allow the licenses, but to imprint them with a special marker such as the letter “I” for immigrant so police could determine immediately if they were dealing with someone in the country illegally."



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