The Great Recession devastated California’s budget, leading to massive cuts to essential services. Yet the right wing blamed public employees and their pensions for the deficits, not the Wall Street bankers who had crashed our economy.
What We Did
We teamed up with the California Federation of Teachers to lead a major research, advocacy and organizing effort to raises taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget, restore funding for services, and re-frame the debate to focus on the rich who do not pay their fair share in taxes. We conducted extensive qualitative and quantitative research to develop a revenue strategy for the state that could pass at the ballot.
This research led to “The Millionaire’s Tax” measure, raising income taxes on those making over $1 million a year to restore funding to services that had been cut. While Governor Jerry Brown initially opposed our efforts, we ultimately joined forces with the Governor once he agreed to make his proposal more progressive, thereby creating Proposition 30.
The compromise that resulted from our efforts led to Proposition 30 collecting $13.2 billion more in additional revenue than Gov. Brown’s initial proposal. We then advised the field and grassroots components of the campaign that passed with 56% of the vote despite major opposition from wealthy conservative forces.