Proposition 30 tax bite hits Tuesday
• Proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, approved by 55 percent of the voters on Nov. 6.
• For 2012 income tax returns, applies higher rates to state residents making more than $250,000. Higher rates last for seven years.
• Beginning Jan. 1, sales tax raises by one-quarter of one cent, meaning a $4 purchase would have an additional penny of sales tax with them. Higher rates last for four years.
• Expected to bring in $8.5 billion in first year and $6 billion in later years for the state.
• Revenues to be split 89-11 between kindergarten-through-12th-grade education and community colleges.
• Guarantees funding from other sources for criminal justice realignment.
Beginning Tuesday, anyone buying something at a store will notice: The tax increases voters approved in Proposition 30 last month have fully taken effect.
But as for billions in new revenue generated by those taxes, schools are the only ones likely to see much of a difference, according to state and local officials.
The state ballot measure, which passed with 55 percent of the vote, was primarily touted as a measure to benefit education spending from kindergarten through college, through higher income taxes on the wealthy and sales taxes.
Though not mentioned as much during the campaign, Proposition 30 also created a constitutional protection for the money for state realignment, the process of sentencing low-level felony offenders to serve sentences in local jails rather than state prisons. Realignment also assigns more parolees to local probation offices.
Chris Odom, the interim chief probation officer in Sutter County, said knowing the funding is in place allows her realignment committee to look ahead.
"The counties have been quite successful in implementing programs," she said. "We're continuing to build services to address recidivism rates."
But to make realignment successful, she said, committees like hers have to focus on all of the involved agencies helping prisoners once they're released, a list that includes the jail, mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
Yuba County Supervisor Andy Vasquez, slated to be board chairman next year, said he's hopeful the money for realignment will stay in place, but is also skeptical.
"I have a wait-and-see attitude about the whole thing," he said. "Sometimes Gov. Brown doesn't do what he said he was going to do."
Though hailed as a boon for education, Proposition 30 could easily be used to divert money for other state purposes, said Vasquez, noting the state is expected to have a deficit again for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
But another component of the measure has a benefit for counties: No requirement to begin a new state program unless the state pays for it.
Steve Smith, deputy county administrator for Sutter County, said there's already such a requirement, but the state will sometimes spend what's needed on something else and pay the county later.
"We're just now looking at our mid-year budgets to see where we're at," he said, adding he's hoping modest signs of state economic recovery mean the county can maintain programs for 2013-14 rather than cut them further.