The California Federation of Teachers (CFT) recently released new polling results showing 78% of voters support increasing income taxes on the top 1% of Californians by 1%. Such a tax would return the richest Californians close to the rate they paid in the mid-1990s, when Pete Wilson was Governor. CFT is calling for the progressive tax to be part of a package to resolve California’s budget crisis.
Sacramento has seen budget negotiations deadlocked in recent weeks and this proposal can help solve California’s budget mess. The intensity of voter support for increasing income taxes on the richest 1% is very high, with 53% of voters strongly supporting this measure, and 78% of voters in favor. There is overwhelming support that crosses all lines: party, age, and income with support of Republicans at 60% and Independents at 79% and Democrats at 89%. Even those making more than $100,000 a year support it – that includes those who would pay the increased income tax.
The people of California strongly favor increasing taxes by 1% on the wealthiest 1% of Californians, instead of making additional cuts to education and key public services. This should be among the options placed before the voters for resolving the budget crisis. Californians making over $500,000 a year have just received a $9 billion tax break from the federal government with the extension of Bush’s tax cuts.
Recapturing part of that $9 billion would substantially reduce our state budget deficit, and is a better choice than abandoning students. Without the legislature maintaining the current level of revenues, and allowing $8 billion of taxes to expire, education is slated to be cut $2 B at a minimum below it’s current level of cuts. We need to ask the wealthiest among us to invest their fair share in taxes for California’s future.
This recent poll demonstrates that California voters support raising taxes on the wealthy to help balance the budget and help prevent further cuts to education and other services. This is a solution the people of California strongly support.
To view the poll results, click here.
Joshua Pechthalt is the president-elect of the California Federation of Teachers.