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SAN DIEGO -- Backers of a "millionaire's tax" proposed for the November ballot got a boost from activist and former Obama adviser Van Jones last night.

Jones, the guest speaker at the Friday night kick-off of the state Democratic Party convention in San Diego, told attendees that a tax on top earners would motivate young voters facing large student loan debt and dismal job prospects in a down economy.

"That will get their attention," he said. "The idea that the people who have already climbed that ladder have to give back to them, that's the pathway forward I think to electrify that generation."

The California Federation of Teachers and the California Nurses Association are trying to qualify an income tax hike on Californians earning more than $1 million for the November ballot to fund schools and other services. Jones did not specify whether he was referencing that proposal or the general idea of a millioniare's tax, but the remarks drew applause from the crowd gathered at the Friday night reception. Supporters of the initiative have been out in full force during the annual party gathering, distributing signs and campaign literature promoting the plan.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has filed his own tax initiative to help balance the state budget, is scheduled to address the convention delegates later this morning. He has argued that a ballot with multiple tax initiatives will increase the chances of failure for all measures aimed at budget relief. His proposal would temporarily raise income tax rates for California's top earners and enact a half-cent sales tax increase.


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