Union-backed ballot measures fared well around the country yesterday, with an exception in Michigan and an uncertain outcome in Phoenix. A round-up:
California: Tax the Rich, Gut Unions?
Californians cast their votes on dozens of ballot measures, but two propositions stood out as do-or-die for organized labor, particularly public sector workers. Proposition 30’s passage will block devastating education and service cuts by raising taxes on the wealthy, and Proposition 32’s defeat will protect labor’s ability to raise political cash.
Unions won several important state ballot measures in Tuesday's election. Californians celebrated defeat of Proposition 32, which would have restricted union political spending. They also passed Proposition 30, which will tax the rich to fund schools. Photo: Capital Public Radio.
Prop 30 passed with 54 percent. Led by Governor Jerry Brown and supported by a Democratic/labor coalition called Reclaim California, it prevents $6 billion in further cuts to schools and colleges by raising the income tax rate for top earners and increasing the state sales tax a quarter of a percent.
Fred Glass of the California Federation of Teachers said the challenge was to defuse popular anti-tax sentiment by explaining that the proposition would mostly raise taxes only on the wealthy. “Once people knew that fact, they were far more likely to vote for it,” Glass said.