Governor Plays Loose with the Language

Following Governor Jerry Brown’s compromise with the California Federation of Teachers to combine forces and place a tax initiative on the November ballot, the Governor has taken to calling his measure a “Millionaires’ Tax” in a ploy obviously intended to mislead voters. In fact, the initiative formally known as the Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012 provides a 1% income tax rate increase for single filers at $250,000, 2% at $300,000, and 3% at $500,000. Further, the initiative also calls for a quarter cent sales tax increase that would hit all California consumers.

Even though the proposed taxes would hit everyone to one degree or another, Brown’s campaign website ( says, “The [initiative] is a Millionaires’ Tax that asks the richest Californians to pay their fair share to help fund public education and vital public services, pays down the debt we owe to schools, and does not raise income taxes on the poor or middle class.” When asked to explain the discrepancy between the campaign message and the actual language of the initiative, Brown replied, “Because everybody who makes $250,000 becomes a millionaire very quickly if you save. You just need four years. … I do think it is a Millionaires’ Tax. It taxes millionaires.”

Is it any wonder public trust and confidence in elected officials is at an all-time low?

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