Field Poll: Brown's tax plan has slim support

  • FILE - In this May 3, 2012 file photo, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at the Bay Area Council Outlook Conference in San Jose, Calif. Brown faces a deeper budget hole than the $9.2 billion deficit contained in his initial state spending plan in January. The shortfall has grown by several billion dollars since then, as state tax revenue has fallen well short of expectations, signaling continuing weakness in California's economy. When the governor releases his revised budget proposal this week for the coming fiscal year, he will call for a combination of additional spending cuts and higher tax revenue through his November ballot initiative. If voters reject the initiative, he has warned of severe spending cuts at all levels of state government. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

SAN FRANCISCO — A new Field Poll finds a bare majority of likely California voters back Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed November initiative to raise income and sales taxes, while voters are divided on a rival tax increase plan by a wealthy civil rights attorney.

The poll released Saturday found that the Democratic governor's proposal is leading with a 52 percent to 35 percent margin. Brown's proposal would raise income taxes on a sliding scale on incomes over $250,000 a year for seven years and raise the state sales tax by a quarter cent for four years.

A proposal by Los Angeles attorney Molly Munger that would raise income taxes on nearly all Californians on a sliding scale has considerably less support. The Field Poll finds voters are split on that initiative, 42 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed.

Both ballot initiatives are being pitched as a way to help California's struggling schools amid a $16 billion budget deficit. Brown's proposal would also backfill the state's general fund and guarantee funding to local governments for public safety. Munger's 12-year tax increase would provide some relief to the state budget in the first four years, but lawmakers would have no control over the school funds.

Neither initiative has yet qualified for the November ballot.

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