In actuality, I don't mind having such a tax levied, but it's the particulars of these initiatives that irritate me (November 2004 Proposition 63 passed that levied 1% tax on income over $1M to direct it to mental health work). Particular #1: the tax base and the cause are unrelated. We tax gas to pay for roads. We tax property in cities to pay for schools and services in cities. We tax income in California for general California needs. I don't expect to enjoy the benefits of every last service that feeds on the general fund, but I *do* expect that for line-item taxes. I wouldn't mind nearly as much if the proposition was to just change the base tax rate to 11% and feed into the general fund. I object it going to *this particular* cause (or any particular cause).
Particular objection #2 is the tactic of trying to pass a law by observing (albeit correctly) that "Prop. 82 has no cost for 99.4% of California taxpayers." Ah, success - it's free for me, I should vote for it! And besides, those rich people can afford it. Hell, what else are they going to do with that money? ... I, I just can't put into words how this logic infuriates me. Yes, I know that progressive tax systems employ this exact plan, and yes, they bother me, too, but not nearly so badly. I think it's just the tactic of playing up to the voters that this will be absolutely free to them that bothers me. Truth be told, though, it won't be free. Because, at some point, and this may well be it, all those high-income people will actually _leave_ California. The voters pamphlet notes that one-third of California's personal income tax comes from this 0.6% of voters (fewer than 100,000 invididuals). That's a lot of money coming from a few people. A law like Prop. 82 may be enough for them to finally decide to leave California, or to find some way to shelter their income, and California loses out way more than the possible gain of some free preschools. I'm reminded, although only obliquely, of Atlas shrugged.
Well, for what it's worth, I'll cast my No on Prop. 82 ballot tomorrow. I much doubt that anything different will happen with it than with Prop 63, though. *sigh*