By Peter Byrne
Many people are (justifiably) confused about which one of the dueling education tax revenue propositions to support at the polls.
One measure relies mainly upon increasing sales taxes to fund the sorely strapped educational system. The other measure relies upon increasing income taxes to do the same. There are other, relatively minor, differences.
But here is the rub: Each proposition needs a majority vote to win, and if each one gets more than 50 percent, the one with the most votes triumphs.
Conventional wisdom says vote "yes" for the one you "like" and "no" for its competition. But VOTERS BEWARE: voting "yes" for one measure, and "no" for the other measure, vastly increases the probability that both measures will lose!
The logic is simple. Assume that 60 percent of the electorate wants to increase funding for education. But, influenced by hair-splitting campaign mailers, the voters split down the middle and 30 percent vote for Prop 30 and 30 percent for Prop 38, and both lose. Or they skew 45 percent for one measure and 15 percent for the other, and both lose.
If education supporters split the pro-education vote: both measures are almost certain to lose! The only way to reasonably ensure that funding education succeeds is to vote for both propositions. Then, assuming that most people support education, one proposition will win majority approval by a small number of votes, which is vastly superior to both propositions losing.
Peter Byrne is an award-winning investigative journalist and writer who lives in Petaluma. For more information, visit him online at peterbyrne.info