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Voting in Favor of Only 1 of 2 Education Propositions Puts Both in Peril

Proposition 30 and 38 both want to increase taxes to fund education. But if voters try to pick just one to support, they run the risk of "splitting" the vote and increasing chances that both lose, writes the author.

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.

Get it?

Peter Byrne is an award-winning investigative journalist and writer who lives in Petaluma. For more information, visit him online at peterbyrne.info

mikeg55 October 18, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Vote NO on both. No more taxes!!!
Petaluman8tv October 18, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Another fundamentally misleading characterization in Petaluma Patch. Prop 30 raises $6 Billion dollars. $1.2 Billion is from sales tax increase. $4.8 Billion is from increasing taxes on the wealthiest 3%. To characterize the proposition as "relies mainly upon increasing sales taxes", is simply not accurate. We have competing negative issues to resolve in California. On one hand, we already pay the highest income taxes in the United States. To raise them another 20-30% on the wealthiest citizens is onerous. But, on the other hand, we have the 4th lowest amount of money per student in our education system. To me, it raises the obvious question, where the heck did all our money go? Education is the single biggest item in our state budget, and yet it is underfunded in a state with the highest funding in the country. And this tax is retroactive. People hit with it will have it apply to 2012 taxes. That is simply wrong. It is fundamentally unfair to hit people with taxes that they had no opportunity to plan for. So, what to do? Give our elected officials more money, only half of which will go to schools. Or, make them function better, knowing it will negatively effect our kids? No good choices IMO.
Milan Moravec October 20, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Look to the future of Prop 30, 38. Create California’s future. Vote No on Prop 30, 38, 32. Keep the California dream alive and well. Decisions you make on Nov 6 determine California’s course for years. We are kidding ourselves by believing that education funding shortfalls disappear with Prop 30, Prop 38. Prop 30, Prop 38 levy significant taxes on each one of us. The wounds that Prop 30, 38 are to heal have been self inflicted largely by our elected Sacramento politicians who simply do not say no to any influential interest group be they, University of California (29% increase in salaries last 6 years), public employees, business, teachers, or other unions or lobbyists. And now Prop 30, 38 are used by Sacramento politicians and lobbyists to blackmail us

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