Federation of Teachers release poll supporting their Millionaire’s Tax””

New polling shows broad voter support for a 2012 ballot initiative that would tax millionaires to raise money for education as well as public safety and social services, sponsors of the measure - led by the California Federation of Teachers reported Thursday.

Members of the Restoring California Coalition" said in a conference call that its plan to tax the wealthy will raise $6 billion a year and is supported by 67 percent of likely voters, according to the poll.

This group's announcement comes just a day after the state's influential Education Coalition said that school advocates need to unite behind a single tax measure well in advance of the November election or risk losing a rare opportunity to raise new revenues.

There are now five tax initiatives in the works aimed at the November election - each of which would provide all or much of their new revenue to school. Included among that list is one proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, but the Restoring California group said theirs has the best chance of passing and should be the one others support.

"This tax places the responsibility for restoring funding on those who have been benefiting the most and does not put it on the backs of working and middle-class families who have been suffering, particularly during this economic downturn," said Joshua Pechthalt, president of the teachers federation.

Pechthalt added that, based on extensive polling and research, the coalition believes that their Millionaire's Tax "is by far the package of taxes most likely to succeed with the electorate in California."

The poll, conducted by Democratic researcher Ben Tulchin, is based on random telephone interviews with 2,400 likely voters between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

"I have never in my career seen such strong polling numbers for a title and summary vote for a revenue measure," said Tulchin, "and it's why we believe strongly that this measure - the Millionaire's Tax - has the best chance of winning come November."

The so-called Millionaire's Tax, according to Pechthalt, would be a permanent tax placing an additional 3 percent surcharge on the income of those making $1 million or more and a 5 percent surcharge on those whose annual income is $2 million or more - all intended to restore funding that has been cut from education, safety and social services budgets.

In contrast to Gov. Brown's tax plan, the money raised through the CFT proposal would be dedicated through a series of trust funds, with 60 percent of the total going to pre-K through college education and 40 percent to social services for seniors and the disabled as well as public safety and roads and bridges, the group said.

Brown's initiative, which proposes to tax millionaires and higher income earners as well as temporarily increase the state sales tax by a half-percent, would raise $7 million a year.

CFT officials said they believe that Brown's plan is less likely to pass because of the sales tax increase, which is not popular with voters. Indeed, they tested the sales tax increase and found 62 percent of those polled were opposed.

The Restoring California Coalition, which also includes California Calls and the Courage Campaign, said it has backers "of means" as well as labor partners statewide and nationally but that there are also already thousands of people who have expressed support of the group and its measure.

"In addition to outreach to labor unions and people of means, there will be strong grassroots support to help fund this initiative," said California Calls Anthony Thigpen.

To read more about the poll visit: http://bit.ly/sVe2gk

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