Proposition 38 Election Results: Molly Munger's Tax-Hike Falls To Massive Voter Opposition
As of 10:20 p.m., the California Secretary of State web site shows that voters shot down Prop. 38 by 74 percent -- no other initiative on the 2012 state ballot is losing that badly.
The major defeat comes after multi-millionaire and Pasadena civil rights attorney Molly Munger personally spent $44.1 million on the Yes on 38 campaign. Her husband, Steve English, gave over $3 million to Proposition 38.
Munger and her campaign team, which she and her husband headed up, clearly failed to connect with California voters and effectively explain the merits of Proposition 38.
The failed ballot measure sought to increase incomes taxes for California residents on a progressive scale, with that money -- billions of dollars worth -- funneled directly to local public school districts.
Munger and English are successful products of the California public education system, and say they wanted to give back by helping to better fund cash-starved schools.
The civil rights attorney came under heavy attack by the Democratic political establishment and Governor Jerry Brown, who saw Proposition 38 as a threat to the success of his own tax-hike initiative, Proposition 30. But Munger stood strong -- for the most part.
Munger blinked, however, when she pulled an effective TV ad that sent Brown and his supporters into hysterics. The ad compared Proposition 38 with Proposition 30, making note that Sacramento legislators could not touch Prop. 38 money -- unlike Prop. 30.
With Democratic officials crying foul and calling on Munger to ditch the TV ad, the civil rights attorney pulled it off the air after a week.
It may have been the wrong decision.
Soon after, polls showed that Proposition 38 was losing major support from voters, and Munger's campaign never again picked up steam.
Public education advocates are now closely watching the numbers for Brown's Proposition 30, which promises to prevent "trigger cuts" to state funding for local school districts.
During an L.A. Weekly interview a few weeks ago, husband Steve English promised that he and Munger would continue to seek more funding for California's public schools. Munger and English may come back in a year or two with another ballot measure -- and, most probably, a better campaign strategy.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.