10/23/2012 01:45 am ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

Prop 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initiative For School Funding

Championed by millionaire civil rights attorney Molly Munger, Prop 38 would increase state income taxes on all Californians on a sliding scale for 12 years. The revenue, estimated to be roughly $10 billion annually for the first few years, would go straight to K-12 schools and early childhood programs.

Proponents of Prop 38 say that these funds will skip Sacramento and go straight to local school districts, where parents and teachers will decide how to spend the money. It's also the only tax initiative that would deliver new funds to local schools. Yes On Prop 38 advocates claim that the average tax burden for incomes between $25,000 - $50,000 would be just $54.

Opponents decry the fact that even people with low incomes ($17,346/year) would be burdened by a new tax. They also say that the initiative isn’t tied to any accountability for the schools. Also, public universities will not benefit from this new source of revenue if it passes.

Prop 38 is one of three tax initiatives on the ballot, and supporters have run ads against rival education tax initiave Prop 30. Championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Prop 30 would increase taxes on wealthy Californians (those who make over $250,000) for seven years. It would also increase sales taxes by ¼ cent for four years. The taxes would bring in an estimated average of $6 billion a year, which would go straight into California’s budget and stave off $6 billion in automatic “trigger cuts” to education.

If both Prop 30 and 38 pass, the proposition with the highest number of votes will be enacted. Because of this, Educate Our State co-founder Crystal Brown is advocating for voters who care about education to vote yes on both tax initiatives. In a blog for The Huffington Post, Brown writes:

As a parent of three young children who will suffer the consequences of our political irresponsibility if we allow both measures to fail, I am therefore voting "yes" on education by voting "yes" on both Proposition 30 and Proposition 38. "Are you paying attention?" as I often say to my children. The only way to give our children any chance of avoiding even more devastating cuts to their schools is a "yes" vote for both education measures. While the one with the most votes will be the only winning measure, our state's children will be out of the line of fire, temporarily, if at least one passes.

For: The LA Fund for Public Education, State Superintendant Tom Torlakson, Alameda Unified School District, Los Angeles Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, ACLU of Northern California, Children NOW and California Head Start Association. To see more, go to

Against: California Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times. To see more, go to



California 2012 Propositions