Molly Munger isn't backing down in her effort to qualify a ballot measure that would hike taxes to provide more money to schools and early education programs.
The wealthy civil rights attorney and education advocate, who has already put $800,000 of her own cash into a campaign committee for the initiative, said today that she's willing to bankroll the qualification campaign, an effort that can cost upwards of $2 million.
"We're going to get this on the ballot and we're going to win," she told reporters.
Munger outlined her proposal, which would raise an estimated $10 billion annually by increasing state income tax rates for most Californians, in a noon address to attendees of a Sacramento conference held by the Parent Teacher Association, which is backing her measure.
She framed her tax proposal, which would sunset after 12 years without reauthorization by voters, as the best way to make sure schools and other early education programs receive the funding they need to serve children throughout the state. The bulk of the tax dollars raised under her proposal would go directly to school districts and early childhood development programs, creating a revenue stream that would come on top of school funding levels dictated by Proposition 98. One version of the initiative language, which she said she is leaning toward pursuing, would use some of those revenues to repay bond debt for the first several years.
The proposal, which the campaign calls "Our Children, Our Future: Local Schools and Early Education Investment Act" is expected to be cleared for signature gathering next week.
Gov. Jerry Brown has sought to clear the field of several proposed tax measures vying for a spot on the 2012 ballot, a move he believes will increase the chance of passage of his own proposal to increase income and sales taxes for budget relief. Munger told reporters that while she has not spoken directly to the governor, her polling shows her measure can pass even with the other proposals in the picture
One of the Democratic governor's top political strategists took to Twitter to challenge that assertion Monday afternoon.
"When u have competing tax measures on the ballot, voters make choice. Likely result- all lose and children u claim to be protecting lose," adviser Steve Glazer tweeted.
Here is a video of Munger's remarks to Capitol reporters: