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Billionaires Endorse Initiative to Raise California Taxes For Schools, Universities

The Occupy movement and ReFund California have been making a lot of noise about getting billionaires and big banks to pay a greater share of California's tax and education bill so students don't have to continue facing huge tuition hikes.

It looks like at least some of California's billionaires are hearing their message.

The Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend that the likes of L.A.'s Eli Broad, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and even former governator Arnold Schwarzenegger are behind a new-tax initiative they plan to bring to voters.

The initiative campaign by the group called the Think Long Committee hasn't kicked off yet but will in the next couple weeks, the paper reports.

But plans, according to the paper, indicated the group would ask voters to ...

... lower the state's personal income and sales tax rates and create a new levy of more than 5% on services that are not currently taxed, such as legal work or accounting ...

In exchange Californians would get much needed billions for higher education and at least $5 billion a year for public schools.

It takes a lot of cash to gather signatures and get these kinds of things on the ballot -- let alone the TV spots it would take to sway voters. But Broad, Schmidt and committee founder Nicolas Berggruen said they'll bankroll it, with Berggruen along saying he'll pitch in $20 million.

The cash could definitely solve a few problems and get the occupiers and refunders to rethink the vilification of the so-called 1 percent. But California would still be stuck with unfair personal and business property taxes under Prop. 13 and public employee pensions gone wild.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com/@LAWeeklyNews]


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