Arguably one of the most controversial propositions on the November ballot in California was Proposition 30, the sales tax initiative touted by Gov. Jerry Brown as necessary to prevent cuts to the state’s financially-strapped school systems.
With early returns, it looked as if the ballot measure watched by millions of California’s school children would not pass.
However, with 95 percent of the precincts reporting, the vote was 54 percent in support of the ballot measure.
Proposition 30 asked voters to raise income taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year and sales taxes on everyone to help balance the state budget and avoid about $6 billion in cuts, mostly to schools.
The spending cuts are already built into this year's state budget, and without the taxes some schools could shorten the school year by as many as three weeks.
The Democratic governor spent the final two weeks trying to remind voters of the choice, and Democrats toted his Welsh corgi, Sutter, around the state trying to boost enthusiasm. Recent public opinion polls showed the initiative falling below the 50 percent threshold needed for passage, but Brown's supporters were focused on the 14 percent of likely voters who were undecided. They believed a few hundred thousand votes could push it over the top.
Voters turned away a competing plan, Proposition 38, sponsored by wealthy attorney Molly Munger, which would have increased income taxes to inject schools with billions of dollars in new spending. Munger told supporters gathered at a trendy Los Angeles restaurant that the vote was not the end of the fight for increased school funding.
"Obviously this is not the outcome we all hoped for, but transformational change can take a long time and we all know that," Munger said.