After last week's thrilling Tea Party victory in Wisconsin, it's a let-down to see that Jerry Brown's proposition to raise (temporarily, of course) state income and sales taxes still has a slim lead in public opinion polls.
Five months before Election Day, public support for Gov. Jerry Brown's effort to raise taxes hangs precariously above 50 percent, with confidence in Brown slipping.
A new Field Poll shows 52 percent of registered voters support Brown's initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, compared to 35 percent opposed.
The tenuous level of support reflects a six percentage point drop from February, before Brown combined his initiative with a more popular measure proposed by the California Federation of Teachers.
The poll, released today, is Field's first measure of public opinion on the matter since the Brown-CFT merger.
"They still have a lead," poll director Mark DiCamillo said, "but there's not a lot of margin there."
Brown has labored unsuccessfully since taking office to raise taxes to help address the state's persistent budget deficits. His November ballot measure is at the center of his agenda this year.
Historically, suicidal left-wing tax increase propositions always maintain a polling lead in California until about a week before balloting, and then all of that "support" vanishes. There's no reason to think things will be any different this time. Brown's side is trying to argue that a competing tax measure filed by Molly Munger, a wealthy LA-based leftist (they keep calling her a "civil right attorney," but it's her inherited wealth and progressive politics that provide Munger with any sort of influence) is partly to blame for the relatively low polling. That doesn't make sense. Why not vote for both?
Brown says his tax increases are the only solution to the state's budget mess, and I am sure he believes that. But, if it's such a good idea, why go through the hassle of a proposition? Why not an all out effort to pass the tax increases in the Legislature? We used to hear for years that it was only extremist Republican intransigence that prevented the wise heads from taking the (pull a sad face) difficult step of raising taxes on everyone but themselves. Well, there's no significant GOP opposition in Sacramento anymore. There are no Republicans in state wide office (I believe the highest ranked GOP official in California is a member of the Board of Equalization). Plus, the old 2/3 voting majority to pass tax increases went the way of John McCain back in 2008.
All you need is a simple majority in the Assembly and State Senate to pass a tax increase. Why not go for it, if it's such a great idea?