You read the headline right. California's powerful teacher union actually found a tax it could say "no" to. Not that the CTA has any principled objection to a surtax on Californians earning $1 million or more. Part of the problem is the proposed tax doesn't go far enough.
According to the Bay Area News Group story:
Dean Vogel, president of the powerful California Teachers Association, says a tax on people making $1 million a year or more -- a levy being pushed by the smaller California Federation of Teachers -- won't generate enough revenue. He also worries that having more than one tax initiative on the November 2012 ballot would turn off voters.
"Our best guess is that CFT's potential proposal is that it'll generate $4 billion, far less than what's needed," Vogel told the Bay Area News Group, adding that at least $8 billion is needed to cover gaping holes in the state budget.
The union is picking its battles carefully. Next year is shaping up to be a brutal election season. President Obama will have no trouble carrying the Golden State, but the public employee unions are girding themselves for another fight over "paycheck protection," the third such initiative in about 15 years. The new version would ban unions and corporations from contributing directly to candidates or candidate-controlled campaign committees.
Meantime, the CFT plan may wind up as a "half-millionaire's tax." Again, from the story: "Originally, the plan called for an increase on those earning a million dollars or more a year. But as it works out the details, the CFT is now looking at taxing those who make $500,000 or more a year."
Quips Mike Antonucci, proprietor of the Sacramento-based Education Intelligence Agency: "Better be careful. Set it a little lower and the tax might impact union officers."