The likelihood of open warfare between Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who have rival tax increase measures on the November ballot, has increased with the formation by Brown's supporters of a committee to oppose Munger.
Stop the Middle-Class Income Tax Hike--No on Prop. 38 has filed a statement of organization with the secretary of state's office, with political consultant Jason Kinney as treasurer and Dr. James Hay, president of the California Medical Association, as its "principal officer." The CMA supports Brown's Proposition 30.
Proposition 30 would raise sales taxes slightly but would derive most of its revenue from hefty increases in income taxes on taxpayers with taxable incomes of $250,000 or more. Although billed as a measure to support schools, its proceeds would generally close a chronic deficit in the state budget.
Munger's measure, which is backed by the PTA, would raise income taxes on all but the lowest income taxpayers and its proceeds would boost school spending.
Brown attempted to persuade Munger to drop her measure but she refused. As part of the state budget, the Legislature passed a bill to elevate Brown's measure to the top of the ballot and Munger attempted, in vain, to block the shift with a lawsuit.
While polls indicate that Brown's measure has bare majority support, Proposition 38 falls below 50 percent, largely because it would hike income taxes on a wider segment of socety. And that appears to be the focus of the new anti-Munger committee.
The anti-Proposition 38 group has also submitted ballot pamphlet arguments against the measure signed by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and officlals from the California State Sheriffs' Association and the California Faculty Association.
Munger has criticized Brown's measure for purporting to bolster school spending while giving little or no new money to education, but has not indicated yet whether she'll finance an opposition campaign to Proposition 30.