A couple of weeks ago, the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council didn't give Proposition 30 a second thought. Or if they did, they didn't talk about it. Councilman Jesse Petrilla wanted his four colleagues to vote to officially disapprove of Prop 30.
For lack of a second, the item went nowhere and didn't even merit discussion among the group.
Showing just how much of a hot potato the proposition could be for elected officials, in Los Angeles County on Tuesday the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to formally endorse Prop 30, a ballot measure that would raise income tax on those making more than $250,000 annually and increase sales taxes by one-quarter of one cent.
"Voting no on Proposition 30 is playing with fire for the state of California," said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky who, along with Supervisor Gloria Molina, recommended the endorsement.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas also supported the endorsement, while Supervisors Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich dissented.
The state's legislative analyst estimates the proposition would raise as much as $6 billion annually over the next four years, 89 percent of which would go to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges, according to the language of the ballot measure. If not passed, $6 billion in service cuts would be needed to balance the state budget.
Antonovich argued that the state's already high sales tax was driving businesses out.
"We have one of the highest sales tax in the United States," Antonovich said, "and as a result of that, we've had a major loss of jobs."
The measure would increase income taxes on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years and increase sales taxes by one-quarter of one cent for four years.
It would also guarantee funding for public safety realignment, which has shifted responsibility for monitoring parolees and jailing low-level offenders from the state to county governments.
"Without it, we're in trouble," Molina said of the guarantee.
—City News Service contributed to this report.