Guild Adopts OPPOSE Position on Prop. 38

Dear Colleagues,
Initially we were staying neutral on Prop. 38 (billionaire Molly Munger’s initiative to fund K-12 education) in order to not antagonize its proponents.  However, now that Prop. 38 proponent Molly Munger has launched attack ads against Prop. 30 we have now changed our recommendation from “No Recommendation” to an “OPPOSE” position on Prop. 38.

Our position to oppose Prop. 38 is not simply in response to Munger’s attack campaign, it is due to the fact that: a) Prop 38 is a regressive tax in that it taxes everyone who earns more than $7,316 per year and b) it does not provide any revenue for higher education.
However well intended, billionaire Molly Munger’s $30 million dollar pet project, Prop. 38 (which is currently losing badly in the polls) would not stop the $5.35 billion in immediate trigger cuts to education and does absolutely nothing to address higher education funding down the road.  Thus while seeking to help K-12, Proposition 38 sacrifices higher education, a shortsighted move to be sure.
It would be painfully ironic if Proposition 38 lost but managed to confuse voters and sank Proposition 30 along the way. Molly’s brother Charles, who is a big YES on Proposition 32 backer and NO on 30 opponent, is helping to pass 32 to pave the way for the privatization plans of his right-wing friends in the aftermath of 30’s failure.  Perhaps it was the enticing thought of this prospect that motivated Charles Munger to drop $20 million of his own money into the Small Business PAC to support 32 and oppose 30.
Suffice it to say, the Mungers are one family of arrogant mega-rich busy bodies California could do without.  We hope they do move out of State, regardless of whether Prop. 30 passes or not.
Here is more information on Munger’s “murder-suicide” pact from the Sacramento Bee, followed by a press release from Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson calling on Munger to stop the attacks:

Editorial: Munger’s attack on Jerry Brown’s initiative could kill both

Published Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012

No one should doubt that Los Angeles civil rights attorney Molly Munger is passionate about improving public schools in California.

She has proved that by putting her money where her beliefs are, spending $31 million to promote Proposition 38, her initiative to raise income taxes by $10 billion a year to fund schools.

That’s all within the bounds of the California initiative process, in which wealthy interests and philanthropists propose initiatives and try to convince voters of the wisdom of their concepts.

But Munger has spent an additional $3 million to attack Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative to raise taxes by $6 billion a year to fund a variety of state services, schools among them. And that is troubling.

Proposition 30 would raise income taxes on individuals who earn $250,000 or more, and couples earning $500,000 annually, generating $5 billion a year, and raise sales taxes by a quarter percentage point, generating another $1 billion annually.

While it’s not ideal tax policy, Proposition 30 is the linchpin of Brown’s plan to place California on less shaky financial ground.

Without it, the governor and Democratic legislators have said, they will have no choice but to cut another $6 billion from the state budget. Public schools and the public university system would face the harshest cuts.

Recent polling showed Proposition 30 was ahead narrowly. But voters hate to raise taxes, even if taxpayers other than themselves are the ones who would pay those taxes. If Munger persists in funding the ad criticizing Proposition 30, she almost certainly will sink Brown’s measure.

The California PTA and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson are the most prominent supporters of Munger’s Proposition 38. On Wednesday, Torlakson called on Munger to cease the attack. The PTA ought to do the same. If she continues, they ought to consider dropping their support for Proposition 38.

For his part, Brown’s Yes on 30 campaign is airing ads that overstate his measure’s value to schools, essentially piggybacking on Proposition 38, and benefiting from the tens of millions Munger is spending on her initiative. The governor should rethink that strategy, if it would mean that Munger would stand down.

As The Bee said in an editorial on Sunday, Proposition 38 would be worth considering in another year. The $10 billion earmarked for public schools certainly is enticing.

However, the state has many needs. Proposition 30 would help meet those needs by starting to pay down the state’s bond debt, and funding criminal justice realignment, while also providing some money for public schools.
If Munger’s persists in her strategy of attacking Proposition 30, Brown’s allies will feel compelled to go after Proposition 38, which already trails in public polling. Munger needs to step back from the brink.

Brown needs to do whatever he can to help make that happen. This murder-suicide will help no one, least of all the kids both sides claim to want to help.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

October 10, 2012

Paul Hefner
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued this statement today in response to the airing of negative comparison ads about Proposition 30 by the campaign supporting Proposition 38:

“I have conveyed personally to Molly Munger my deep concerns and disappointment regarding the decision by the campaign supporting Proposition 38 to begin airing television advertisements that draw a negative contrast with Proposition 30.

I have urged Molly Munger, in the strongest possible way, not to air any such advertisement. I consider this to be the kind of negative campaigning that will confuse voters and turn them away from favorable consideration of either measure.  I am concerned that this anti-Proposition 30 advertisement will create additional confusion about the two measures and lead to the defeat of both. This would be a tragic outcome our schools and our students cannot afford.

As I discussed with Molly Munger, I am convinced that a comparison advertisement of a negative nature will hurt both measures. Polling I conducted clearly predicts that negative campaigning by either campaign has a high probability of turning voters against both. The campaign that attacks also reduces the voters’ support of its own measure.

Our schools continue to be in a severe state of financial emergency and need the billions taken away in the past five years to be reinstated. These revenues need to be restored to our students and schools. We need a major investment to stop the chaotic and detrimental cutting of school budgets and an investment to enable us to graduate our youth with the skills needed to compete globally and to strengthen the California economy.  The dividends of such investments would be enormous for California. I have supported both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38 for this reason: because each offers the potential of providing desperately needed funding for our schools—from preschool, to K-12, to our higher education systems.

I call upon the campaigns supporting Proposition 38 to stop airing negative comparison advertisements and return to a positive message. That is the best path towards ensuring the students, about whom we all care so much, will receive the support they need this election day.”