Tax on the Wealthy rejected by California voters

Washington– California voters firmly rejected Proposition 82, a tax-the-rich initiative that would have provided for universal preschool.  The measure was defeated 60 percent to 40 percent.

The so-called “Preschool for All” initiative, spearheaded by director Rob Reiner, would have raised income taxes by 1.7 percent for individuals who earn at least $400,000 a year or couples earning at least $800,000 a year to fund preschool for California’s four-year olds.  Proponents of the measure estimated that passage of Proposition 82 could have brought the number of children attending preschool to 70 percent—a four percent increase from the current 66 percent of children that already attend preschool.

“This was a stunning victory for taxpayers,”stated Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, “Big spenders, such as Rob Reiner, sought to play politics using envy of the most productive of California citizens to create another bureaucratic spending program in California.  Perhaps instead of using $4 million of his own money to increase taxes on the rich, Reiner could have used that money to set up his own private preschool to provide education for low-income children.”

After starting out as a popular initiative, support waned as voters looked into the details of the measure more closely.  One of the main critiques of the measure was that it was not targeting low-income children who would benefit most from universal preschool.  Much of the funding for preschool went to subsidize the very families that were being taxed and already send their children to preschool

“Taxpayers were not blinded by the rhetoric of tax and spenders and recognized there was little sense in creating a new government program that would simulate what was already being done in the private sector,” continued Norquist, “No one is arguing that quality education is not a high priority.  If quality education is what California desires, then the state should first look at fixing its flawed K-12 education system through choice and competition before creating new spending programs.”