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.
A spokesman for the governor's initiative, Dan Newman, said his proposal is a critical step toward restoring the state's fiscal health and would prevent serious cuts to education and public safety.
The poll found 35 percent of voters said they support both initiatives, 28 percent of likely voters said they oppose both of them, and another 8 percent are undecided on both. Voters are largely split along party lines, with Democrats backing the plans and Republicans opposing them. Independent voters also lean in favor of the taxes.
The Field Poll interviewed 710 registered voters by telephone in English and Spanish from May 21-29. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.