monopoly_money.jpgGov. Jerry Brown, seeking to promote his Proposition 30 tax initiative, told a San Francisco audience today that, “the California dream is still vibrant,” but said the tax increase is needed to keep it that way.

The measure on the Nov. 6 state ballot would temporarily increase sales taxes by one-fourth of a cent per dollar and raise income taxes for people who earn more than $250,000 per year.

The estimated $6 billion raised annually would be devoted to education, including 89 percent to public schools and 11 percent to community colleges.

“Proposition 30 is fair, it’s moral, it represents the best in our California tradition and it is critical to maintaining the California dream,” Brown told a noontime gathering of 250 people at the Commonwealth Club.

Brown said that despite California’s budget woes, “We’re the leading place in innovation and technology in the world.

“We have a fabulous state that we live in,” he said. “This is a vibrant, creative place with one of the most extraordinary collections of human beings in the whole world.”

But “we have to invest in our kids, colleges, and brain power” to keep that technological and creative edge, Brown said.

The current state budget enacted at the end of June is based on an assumption that voters will approve the tax measure and contains automatic trigger cuts of $6 billion to schools if it is not passed.

Those cuts would result in a shortening of the school year by two or three weeks and a “serious increase” in public college tuition, Brown warned.

If Proposition 30 passes, the increased sales tax would be in effect for four years and the income tax surcharge for seven.

The latest Field Poll, which was released today, shows 48 percent of a sample of likely voters in favor of the measure, 38 percent against and 14 percent undecided.

A competing initiative, Proposition 38, led by Pasadena attorney Molly Munger, would increase income taxes for almost all Californians on a sliding scale and would dedicate the $10 billion raised each year to public schools and early childhood education.

The new Field Poll showed that measure trailing, with 34 percent of likely voters supporting, 49 percent opposed and 17 percent undecided.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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