The popular CFT-sponsored Millionaires Tax merged with the governor’s revenue proposal this spring to become the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 on the November ballot.

The measure will generate $9 billion in vital funding per fiscal year. About 85 percent of the revenue will come from the highest income tax brackets.

The state budget has already suffered huge cuts in every program, from education and childcare to public safety programs for the needy. Colleges and schools have seen reduced offerings, increased class sizes, and classified and faculty layoffs. Without new revenue, schools, universities, and public safety will face billions in additional cuts.

The merged revenue measure raises revenue in two ways.

Single filers earning at least $500,000 yearly would pay 3 percent more; those earning from $300,000 to $500,000 would pay 2 percent more. Individuals earning below $250,000 and families earning below $500,000 will pay no additional income tax.

The ballot measure also increases the sales tax by a quarter percent.
These revenue increases are temporary, with the income tax provisions lasting seven years and the sales tax provision lasting four years.

Another measure on the November ballot is not what it seems. The Special Exemptions Act claims to be a “simple, fair and balanced solution” to the problem of special interest money in politics.

The measure prohibits corporations and unions from collecting political funds from employees and members through voluntary payroll deduction, and makes employee political contributions by any other means strictly voluntary, requiring annual written consent.

But let’s take a closer look at the Special Exemptions Act.

Employee contributions to political campaigns are already voluntary under existing law. The measure creates special exemptions for billionaire businessmen, giving them even more political power to write their own set of rules.

It exempts secretive Super PACs, which can raise unlimited funding from corporate special interests, and does nothing to prevent anonymous donors from spending millions to influence elections.

It exempts Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds, real estate developers, and others from the ban on contributions, and specifically exempts insurance companies from the ban on payroll deductions.

What the Special Exemptions Act does is limit the voices of everyday workers — educators, nurses and firefighters — on issues that matter to all Californians.