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A "millionaires tax" initiative spearheaded by the California Federation of Teachers and the Courage Campaign received petition language today, as well as backing from the powerful California Nurses Association.

CFT spokesman Fred Glass said his group expects to begin collecting signatures Monday now that state Attorney General Kamala Harris has issued official petition language today. Harris titled the measure "Tax To Benefit Public Schools, Social Services, Public Safety, And Road Maintenance."

The CFT/Courage plan would raise taxes by three percentage points on income above $1 million and five percentage points on income above $2 million. State fiscal analysts say the proposal would generate $4 billion to $6 billion annually, with a $6 billion to $9.5 billion windfall in the 2012-13 fiscal year because the plan would capture 18 months of taxes.

The plan is competing with Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, which would raise income taxes on earners starting at $250,000 for single filers, as well as increase the statewide sales tax by a half-cent.

The proposals have split the labor community so far. CFT and CNA are backing the "millionaires tax," while the California Teachers Association and Service Employees International Union State Council are backing Brown's proposal.

The governor wants rival campaigns to stop their efforts and join his coalition, but they say they are pressing on. Besides CFT's proposal, civil rights attorney Molly Munger is backing a $10 billion income tax measure, while hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer is pursuing a corporate tax change that would pay for clean energy projects.

CFT donated $500,000 last week to back its signature-gathering efforts.

"We are prepared to spend enough to get a million signatures," Glass said. "It's not just going to be CFT spending the money. We have partners, and we'll be announcing a couple more sizable contributions soon."


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