Campaign spending to promote Props. 30 and 38 exceeds $100 million

Proponents of Propositions 30 and 38 have now poured a combined total of $117 million to convince voters to support their respective measures, both of which are intended to raise billions of dollars for schools and other programs.

Spending on behalf of Proposition 30, the tax initiative sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown that will raise an average of $6 billion for schools and other state programs, has jumped to $69.4 million, according to MapLight, a nonpartisan Berkeley-based research organization. That’s a huge increase from just two weeks ago when the campaign reported raising a total of $50.1 million. Meanwhile, spending on behalf of Prop. 38, the rival measure sponsored by civil rights attorney Molly Munger, who is also the heiress to the fortune of her father Charles T. Munger Sr., the billionaire vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, totals $47.8 million.

For similarities and differences between the two measures, see this EdSource infographic.

A striking difference between spending on each initiative is that there are multiple large donors on behalf of Prop. 30, while Molly Munger, with a contribution of $44 million, and her husband Steve English, with a contribution of $3.25 million, are by far the largest contributors to Prop. 38. The total raised for the campaign on top of Munger’s and English’s contributions amounts to just over $238,000.*

By contrast, the largest contributors to Prop. 30 are the California Teachers Association, with a contribution of $11.6 million, the Service Employees International Union ($11.3 million), the Democratic State Central Committee ($5.1 million), the American Federation of Teachers ($4.4 million), and the Coca Cola Company, with just over $2 million.

The MapLight summary indicates that $53.4 million has been raised to oppose Prop. 30, with Charles T. Munger Jr., Molly Munger’s half brother, being by far the largest contributor with a contribution of $35 million. However, because his funds went to a joint fund to oppose Prop. 30 and to support Prop. 32, the measure intended to make it difficult for unions to contribute to political campaigns, it is hard to know exactly how much will be spent on each campaign.

Another major contributor to defeat Prop. 30 is an organization called Americans for Responsible Leadership, with an anonymous contribution of $11 million that has spurred frenzied legal action to force the group to disclose the donors of the funds. Yesterday, the California Supreme Court, in a rare and unexpected move, ordered the Arizona group to turn over its records that could help  – within an hour.

The group refused to do so, indicating that it intended to seek a stay of the California order from the U.S. Supreme Court or, failing that, seek until at least 9 a.m. Monday to turn over records. State Attorney General Kamala Harris described the group’s legal tactics as “an effort to obstruct the process and run out the clock.”

*Numbers rounded. For exact contributions, see



Filed under: Elections, State Education Policy

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4 Responses to “Campaign spending to promote Props. 30 and 38 exceeds $100 million”

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  1. B.Kevorkian on Nov 7, 2012 at 9:03 am11/7/2012 9:03 am

    • 000

    It’s official, California’s budget and economic woes will continue. The success of Prop 30 has proven the effectiveness of a new tool for Politicians in their ongoing war against democracy: Blackmail.

    Politicians no longer have to go on record as voting for tax hikes and cuts to needed services. They can go on wasting money on their pork projects that funnel money to their campaign contributors, and just set up damned-if-you-do/don’t measures like Prop 30 to leave the hard choice to voters.

    The biggest recipients of their mad largess: public employee unions, outspent a family of billionaires to preserve the status quo. And they bought enough air time to spread their outright lies about prop 32, to preserve their ability to spend tens and hundreds of millions of dollars to spread their outright lies and keep the state of CA in their pockets.


    • navigio on Nov 7, 2012 at 10:44 am11/7/2012 10:44 am

      • 000

      I hate to say it but we almost deserve to be blackmailed. Look at the county map for the presidential vote, then look at the county map for prop 32. They are almost identical. Then look at the county map for 30, almost a perfect mirror image of those other two. As if those decisions were based on what kids need..

      Kind of sad really. I do have to say I think these two propositions brought the education discussion to a new level and to a wider audience. I hope that can be capitalized on to continue to educate the community about how best to have all our schools be successful.

      • Manuel on Nov 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm11/7/2012 12:04 pm

        • 000

        Unfortunately, if one were to judge by the level of discourse found in the comments section of any major “newspaper”, you’d be driven to despair of ever finding a reasonable solution.

        A modest solution would be to reduce the taxes of those counties that did not vote for 30 while at the same time reducing the funds they get for education. Conversely, those counties that voted for 30 should have their taxes increased while benefiting from the increased revenue.

        Oh, and to prevent those counties from mooching off the rest, the number of UC admittees from their counties should be reduced accordingly.

        This should work, no? 😉

  2. Soquel Creek on Nov 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm11/5/2012 1:48 pm

    • 000

    $100 million, huh? That’s just half of what Governor Brown spent on special favors for big donors, both to his political party and to Proposition 30.

    “California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs $200 Million Movie/TV Production Tax Credit Extension”

    You can read more here.

    “The Hollywood and Media Hypocrisy on California Proposition 30 and Possible Media Bias”

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