Tax-the-rich measures may be popular, but California fiscal experts can't agree on how much they would raise.
Because wealthy earners have such volatile income streams, the state's two leading fiscal offices already disagree over how much Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan would generate
The latest example comes from a new state review of the "millionaires tax" backed by the California Federation of Teachers and Courage Campaign. The plan would charge an additional three percentage points on income above $1 million and five percentage points on income above $2 million.
A fiscal review filed last night shows that the Department of Finance believes it would generate about $9.5 billion over 18 months through June 2013. The Legislative Analyst's Office says it would raise only $6 billion. In the next fiscal year, Finance says it would raise $6 billion, while LAO says it would ring in $4 billion.
The two offices submitted their forecasts in a memo they sent to Attorney General Kamala Harris for petition purposes. It was due last Friday, but Harris spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill said the fiscal offices can take more time if they request it. Harris has 15 days to write a title and summary for voters to read before deciding whether to sign a petition.
Brown has a head start on collecting signatures after state officials cleared his measure for signature gathering Wednesday. CFT secretary-treasurer Jeff Freitas said his coalition isn't backing away despite the governor's urging for it to do so.
"We're very much moving forward, securing support," Freitas said. "We have unions and community organizations getting on board. Our initiative is very much the voice of the people. It embodies the Occupy movement going on."