With Gov. Jerry Brown vowing to cut $6 billion in funding to K–12 schools and community colleges if they didn’t approve a temporary tax increase, voters in 2012 passed Proposition 30, raising the state sales tax and personal income tax on the wealthiest Californians.
Now, Californians are being asked to extend for a dozen years a slightly modified version of the tax, generating roughly the same amount of revenue, depending on economic conditions, under a new name, Proposition 55. Only this time, supporters must make the case without the governor’s help. Brown is staying neutral, saying in a state budget press conference in May, “I said it was temporary when I started, when I got Prop. 30 passed — and I think I’ll leave it there.”