Battle of the Clipboards

January 27, 2012 by
Filed under: Finances 

In the coming weeks, do not be alarmed when you are approached by clipboard toting individuals seeking your signature for an initiative(s) supporting schools. After Governor Brown’s failure to get the Legislature to approve tax ballot measure last year he is going straight to the public with his own initiative. In addition, numerous other initiatives for support public education will be circulating.

Conventional wisdom holds if the public has numerous tax initiatives on the ballot they will vote no on all of them. As a result, the Governor will be attempting to qualify his initiative and hoping the other competing initiatives withdraw and/or fail to qualify.

Brief Primer on Initiative Process

California’s initiative process has suggested deadlines for qualifying for the November, 2012 Presidential Election.

As of January 26, 2012, the Secretary of State shows the following:

  • Initiatives and Referenda Pending at the Attorney General’s Office (15)
  • Initiatives and Referenda Cleared for Circulation (62)
  • Initiatives and Referenda Pending Signature Verification (1)
  • Initiatives and Referenda Failed to Qualify (5)

Once the text of a proposed initiative measure has been written, the proponent(s) must submit it to the Attorney General with a written request that a title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed initiative measure be prepared. Upon receipt of the request, the Attorney General prepares a title and summary, which will be the official summary of the initiative measure. The Attorney General then provides a copy of the title and summary to the proponent(s) and the Secretary of State. Once an initiative receives a title and summary, the proponent(s) are able to begin gathering signatures in order to qualify their initiative for the ballot.

Governor’s Initiative

Being the Governor, he was able to get his initiative moved to the front of the line for review and title summary from the Attorney General and was cleared for circulation on January 18, 2012. The circulation deadline is June 18, 2012 and needs 807,615 signatures.

Title: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for five years. Increases sales and use tax by 1/2 cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues over the next five fiscal years. Estimates of the revenue increases vary–for 2012-13, from $4.8 billion to $6.9 billion; for 2013-14 through 2015-16, from $5.5 billion to $6.9 billion on average each year; and for 2016-17, from $3.1 billion to $3.4 billion. These revenues would be available to (1) pay for the state’s school and community college funding requirements, as increased by this measure, and (2) address the state’s budgetary problem by paying for other spending commitments. Limitation on the state’s ability to make changes to the programs and revenues shifted to local governments in 2011, resulting in a more stable fiscal situation for local governments. (Full Text)

Potential Competing Initiatives Awaiting Title and Summary

Competing Initiatives Currently Being Circulated




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