Initiative Update:
How Much Revenue Would the Governor's New Tax Plan Bring In? More Than $2 Billion in Dispute

Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor is challenging Governor Jerry Brown's estimate (from the Department of Finance) that his new tax initiative, cosponsored by the California Federation of Teachers, will bring in $8.9 billion if approved by voters in November.

In the legislative analyst's summary of the fiscal effects of the initiative, he forecasts that the measure would generate $6.8 billion in additional revenue for the 2012-13 budget. The analyst notes that income tax revenue from high-income taxpayers is very volatile, as 67 percent of their taxable income is from capital gains. Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said the administration is anticipating higher revenue from capital gains.

In other initiative news:

New Initiative Filed to Stop High-Speed Rail Project. Senator Doug LaMalfa filed an initiative (12-0010) March 20 that would halt sales of bonds for the state's high-speed rail project and terminate all agreements relating to the project. The "Stop the $100 Billion Bullet Train to Nowhere Act" is similar to another initiative filed by Mr. LaMalfa that already has been cleared for circulation.

This week, a 15-page study led by retired Stanford University Management Professor Alain Enthoven reported that the High-Speed Rail Authority is drastically understating the train's future operating costs. The authority's business plan estimates an operating cost of 10 cents per mile, while large European high-speed rail lines operate at approximately 44 cents per mile, the study reported. (Source: Orange County Register's OC Watchdog blog, March 21.)

March 23, 2012
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