By Steven Harmon
Bay Area News Group

Posted: 10/24/2012 06:19:52 AM PDT
Updated: 10/24/2012 06:20:09 AM PDT

SACRAMENTO — With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he is doing everything he can to overcome what he called the “Orwellian propaganda” of big-monied opponents to his tax-hike measure.

Brown said voters have never faced “such a stark choice” as they do with Proposition 30, which would provide $6 billion annually to the state and avert $5.4 billion in cuts to schools and community colleges and another $250 million each to the University of California and California State University.

“If you vote yes, you get billions into schools, or you vote no and you can yank billions out of schools and jack up tuition,” the governor said in a telephone interview with this newspaper. “It’s an either/or simple matter of arithmetic with monumental consequences for the whole state.”

Attack ads on Proposition 30, which seeks to raise the state sales tax by a quarter cent and income tax on higher-income earners, have come largely from the Small Business Action Committee, a group that had earlier been powered by a $16 million donation from wealthy Republican activist Charles Munger of Palo Alto. He’s the half brother of Molly Munger, who is bankrolling Proposition 38, the chief rival ballot measure that seeks to raise $10 billion a year for 12 years for schools by hiking income taxes on all but the poor.

But the Small Business Action Committee got a recent boost by a secret $11 million contribution from Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership, which because it has not disclosed its donors has come under investigation by the state’s campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission.

“We’re fighting to put the truth out to the people of California, but the biggest obstacle is a phony small business committee which is the antithesis of small,” Brown said. “It’s big, it’s powerful, it’s secretive and it’s deceptive.”

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