Prop. 30 Supporters Score Victory

Opponents of Proposition 30 may have to reveal the source of an $11 million donation. Several local school districts are counting on the measure to help keep budgets in tact.

Gov. Jerry Brown hailed a judge's tentative ruling this week that an Arizona nonprofit group must reveal the source of an $11 million political donation to opponents of Proposition 30, the Brown-backed education tax measure on next week's ballot.

Speaking from his Los Angeles office, Brown told City News Service that even though the ruling is tentative, "it is profoundly significant."

"This is one of the biggest cases I've ever seen initiated by the Fair Political Practices Commission," Brown said, adding that the ruling, if finalized, will mean that "secret money from Arizona can be audited and that the laws of California have to be respected."

"So the No on 30 folks finally may have to come out of the shadows, take off their masks and tell us who the big donors really are," he told CNS.

Several of the school districts, including Claremont, Bonita, and Pomona unified school districts, are counting on the proposition to keep them from losing millions more from budgets already slashed from years of cuts.

The FPPC had begun an audit of the donation by the Arizona nonprofit, known as Americans for Responsible Leadership, but the nonprofit failed to produce records requested by the commission. The FPPC went to court, arguing that it wanted to review the source of the funding prior to the Nov. 6 election to ensure the group was in compliance with financial disclosure laws.

Attorneys for ARL, which contributed the money earlier this month to the Small Business Action Committee PAC, argued that the group is not required to disclose its donors and contended that the FPPC had no authority to conduct an audit until after the election.

The PAC opposes Proposition 30 and supports Proposition 32, which would restrict the collection of union dues for political purposes.

But in her tentative ruling, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shelleyanne W.L. Chang said the FPPC was within its authority in auditing the source of the money. She also noted that ARL's rights would be protected, since the FPPC's audit may ultimately conclude that there was no violation of state disclosure laws, and that the FPPC's audit records are kept confidential.

"Without the FPPC's audit and review of appropriate records, potential disclosure of information prior to the general election critical to the public in deciding how to vote for Propositions 30 and 32 may not be made," the judge wrote.

Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday in Sacramento. If Chang sticks with her tentative ruling, officials from ARL may be required to turn over information on its donors to the FPPC by Thursday afternoon.

"I hope it'll hold up," the governor told CNS. "It's well-reasoned. And then the question is, can the audit disclose the identity of the big money (donors) before the election? That's the question and it's very important. If people with a lot of money can break the law, it sets a bad example. And now the state government has taken steps to ensure the integrity of our electoral process."

Proposition 30 would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent on the dollar for four years and raise the income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. The increased revenues would result in an increase to the minimum guarantee for schools and community colleges under terms of Proposition 98, approved by voters in 1988.

Opponents contend that Proposition 30 would hurt small business and job creation and that the Legislature should enact changes to the public employee pension systems and cut wasteful spending before raising taxes. Opponents also believe the Legislature and Brown should make education a higher priority in their budget decisions instead of raising taxes.

Bob Dollins November 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
@Jerry, the old Democratic ploy of bemoaning the lower tax rate on Capital Gains, a classic "Class Warfare" ploy by lefties. Capital Gains is income made by a person on his/her investment of their normal income, which has already had income tax taken out of it. Investing has risk, so the lower tax rate on investment returns is an incentive to make that investment. However, if a person's investment fails, he/she CANNOT write off the entire loss, only a small percentage of it. Theres nothing in this proposition guaranteeing that the additional revenue from the increased taxes will be going directly to the schools all it says it that the revenues will go into the General Fund, which as we all know, is a monetary Black Hole. What do I say to the leeches in Sacramento? Revamp the ridiculous state workers' pension system, drop the high speed rail boondoggle, stop giving non-citizens $billions in welfare, make this state a "right to work" state and then come talk to me.
Gayle M. Montgomery November 02, 2012 at 11:32 PM
That high speed rail boondoggle you are railing about was voted on and approved by the electorate in 2008. http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/California_Proposition_1A,_High-Speed_Rail_Act_(2008)
Dan Crandell November 03, 2012 at 06:07 AM
@Gayle 49Billion in 2008 to near 200Billion in 2012 Yes indeed California voters were sold a red herring, hook line and sinker, in 2008. The thugs appealed to our "passions" and picked our pockets. I can tell ... you haven't done your homework on this one. Even the FEDS were duped out of 6 or 7 billion start up money. If California does not go through with this we have to give the money back, The money is Spent. Some guy named Roth is now a 1%er.Take a closer look at California's "Brown Streak" It really is educational to see what four years has brought to us.
Liz November 05, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Anything with Browns name attached is money in his pocket to put it where he wants it to go. He did ths the first time he was in office and is doing it again. When he wants more money he throws out that he is going to cut Medicare, Medicaid, social security, fire, police and schools. He threatens all of these areas so he can get his sympathy votes and bully the public.
Dave November 05, 2012 at 09:59 PM
The Unions can give ten times that amount any nobody gets that worked up about it.


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