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Brown Says Californians Face ‘Moral Choice’ in Tax Vote

Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Jerry Brown said voters face a “moral choice” on his ballot measure to raise taxes to avoid deep cuts to schools.

“What we’re facing here is a very stark moral choice,” Brown, a 74-year-old Democrat, said today at a conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, in San Mateo, near San Francisco. “Are we going to invest in our kids, in our schools, in our colleges, in our universities, or not?”

Brown’s measure, Proposition 30 on the Nov. 6 ballot, would temporarily boost the state sales tax to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent and raise the levy on income starting at $250,000. A rejection by voters would trigger $5.5 billion in education cuts.

His plan is being challenged by a competing proposal offered by Los Angeles lawyer Molly Munger, whose father Charles Munger is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Her initiative, Proposition 38, would increase tax rates for 12 years on income of more than $7,316 by 0.4 percentage point for the lowest earners to 2.2 percentage points for those making more than $2.5 million a year.

Under his proposal, the wealthiest Californians would pay the majority of the increased taxes, Brown said.

“The money that comes into the schools will come from the highest income earners, those people who are the absolute pinnacle of American success and prosperity,” Brown said. “What we’re asking is that those individuals so blessed give something back.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Mateo, California at avekshin@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net

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