By Barbara Jones, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/26/2012 07:48:50 PM PDT
Updated: 09/26/2012 08:08:16 PM PDT

Admitting that his proposed tax hike will face a tough battle at the polls, Gov. Jerry Brown made a personal pitch Wednesday for Proposition 30 as the best hope for salvaging California’s cash-strapped education system.

During an hour-long meeting with editors and reporters from the Los Angeles News Group, Brown described Proposition 30 as a sound way to balance the state’s budget, stave off devastating cuts to public schools and community colleges and restore billions slashed from public education.

The constitutional amendment would generate an estimated $6 billion annually by increasing taxes on wages of more than $250,000 for the next seven years. It also would raise the sales tax by a quarter percent for four years.

“Those who have done the best, I believe, can pay another 1 to 2 percent (in income taxes),” he said. “And the sales tax is a quarter-percent. If you buy a cappuccino at the airport for four bucks, you pay one penny more.”

Lawmakers presumed that Proposition 30 would pass when they approved the $91.3billion budget for 2012-13, using its $6 billion in revenue to balance the plan.

Its defeat by voters would trigger $5.4 billion in cuts this fiscal year to public schools and community colleges, with an additional $500 million slashed from California’s public universities and $100 million in miscellaneous reductions.

Brown’s proposed tax hike is one of two on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot designed to repay the $9 billion withheld from public schools during the state’s financial crisis and to get the school system back on track.

The rival measure, Proposition 38, is backed by Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger. It would generate an estimated $10 billion annually for K-12 schools, preschools and child care by raising the income tax on Californians earning more than $7,316.

If both measures are approved, the one with the most votes would take effect.

However, some supporters worry that voters will be confused or overwhelmed by competing measures, which could lead to the defeat of both.

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