Sacramento, California – A ballot initiative that could raise taxes on California millionaires and billionaires to fund public health programs and epidemic prevention – at least this year.
Silicon Valley tech executives who bankrolled the measure, which was targeted for the November ballot, said they were not abandoning their goal of building the country’s strongest state public health system. But they acknowledge that the Covid-19 is no longer at the top of their minds for most Americans.
“Our goal was to get people’s attention to the epidemic in order to do something – but there are economic problems and it looks like we’re heading into a recession, so things have become more complicated,” said Max Henderson, a startup investor and former Google executive leading the campaign. “People are expressing growing skepticism over higher taxes, and the economy is dominating the hearts and minds of voters.”
Governor Gavin News has never publicly supported the initiative. For Henderson and other technology entrepreneurs, taking this measure forward seemed too risky without the support of Newsom, and a broad coalition that includes state lawmakers and strong health and business groups.
The initiative would impose an additional tax “at the rate of 0.75 percent on that portion of a taxpayer’s taxable income” that exceeded 5 million. According to a state government analysis of the measure, it will generate about 15 15 billion in 10 years.
Although the epidemic is not over and the number of covid infections and hospital admissions is rising, the prospect of tax increases – even on the rich – has become politically toxic this year as inflation has pushed up commodity prices and Californians have faced record-high gas prices.
“Voters are generally quite comfortable paying taxes to the rich, but inflation has taken voters’ concerns about the economy and the recession to a very high level,” said Dan Schnoor, a California political strategist.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.
They instead submitted signatures a day later, on July 1, November 2024, to qualify the initiative for the ballot, although the signatures must be verified before the Secretary of State can put them on the ballot.
“Voters may feel better about the economy in two years, and voters are likely to have more in the year of the presidential election – so it could be a more hospitable environment,” Schnoor said.
Meanwhile, campaign leaders are in talks with the Newsom administration to try to reach a previous agreement for more state public health funding by avoiding the ballot box. “We have the opportunity to follow a wider coalition and get the governor on board,” Henderson said. “If not, we will push hard in 2024.”
Campaign spokeswoman Amelia Matiar told KHN that organizers are willing to abandon the tax increase if they can reach an agreement with the governor for a clear public health system that calls for: more money for the struggle of local public health departments, funding for better air filtration and K-12 schools. Other security upgrades, and funding for the establishment of a California-based institute to detect and prevent emerging virus threats.
“It’s not rocket science that the epidemic isn’t on the mind because the cost of living is constantly rising,” Mattier said. “But we are confident that Californians want a better plan to protect themselves from the next epidemic.”
Newscom spokesman Alex Stack has confirmed that the administration is in talks to reach an agreement before 2024.
“The Newsom administration has committed billions of dollars through the University of California to strengthen state and local epidemic response capabilities, community resilience and pioneering science – all to ensure that we are better prepared for the next epidemic. And we’re doing it without raising taxes, which is a priority for governors, “Stack said in a statement.
“We’re all discussing how we can put California at the forefront of research and innovation collectively,” Stack said.
Under pressure from public health officials, Newsom and Democratic leaders in the state provided new funding to California public health agencies that kicked off on July 1st.
The সাধারণ 300 million annual general fund investment will help California strengthen its public health system, said Kat DeBerg, executive director of the California Health Officers Association, which represents 61 local public health officials in the state. It comes after decades of investing in public health, which has made it more difficult for public health officials to identify and prevent deadly outbreaks and respond to the coronavirus epidemic, he said.
The proposed ballot measure would strengthen California’s public health system and make it a national leader, he said, adding that other states were working to weaken public health.
“Additional funding is still absolutely needed,” Deberg said, adding that his organization has officially supported the initiative. Deberg said he prefers that new public health funds be approved through initiatives rather than through the state budget process because it is difficult to undo voters’ decisions.
He has compiled a list of critical public health challenges across the state, including skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted infections, intense heat waves and a severe opioid crisis. The state is also battling the emerging monkeypox threat.
“We see the 300 million annual funding from the governor as a basic investment, but local health departments need to do more than ever before,” he said.
The story was produced by KHN, which publishes the California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that creates in-depth journalism about health issues. KHN is one of the three main operating programs of KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), including policy analysis and polling. KFF is a non-profit organization that provides health information to the nation.
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