In March 2010, a coalition of high tech, bio tech and entertainment industries opposed an initiative filed by the teacher’s union to repeal job-creating tax reforms passed the previous year. Backers of Prop. 24 focused their campaign on blaming “greedy” corporations and Wall Street for the pain people were feeling on Main Street, and positioned Prop. 24 as a “painless” way for schools to get back money they claimed was unfairly given to wealthy corporations.
Public opinion research indicated that in order to counter their arguments successfully, we needed to define Prop. 24 by its impact on jobs and small businesses. Our Stop the Jobs Tax Committee raised concerns that Prop. 24’s “jobs tax” would not be a painless way to increase funds for education and other services, but rather a measure that would stall economic recovery and lead to fewer jobs and long-term revenues.
The “No on 24” campaign actively recruited coalition members and created an interactive Google map that demonstrated the wide range of opposition from throughout California. Over 200 small businesses were highlighted. We also secured a “No on 24” endorsement from every major newspaper in the state. On Election Day, Prop. 24 was defeated by a vote of 58% no to 42% yes.