You would think that the people of California are eager to raise taxes given the news the end of last week that three tax initiative proponents were filing millions of signatures in support of tax increase proposals designed for the November ballot.

Governor Brown says he has the signatures in hand to qualify his tax initiative, which he created in compromise with the California Federation of Teachers. Brown’s measure needed slightly more than 800,000 signatures as a constitutional amendment to qualify for the ballot. Of course, prudent signature gatherers shoot for a higher total to make sure they make it so the governor’s announcement that he has the needed signatures probably means his team collected about 1-million signatures.

Rival tax initiative advocate, Molly Munger, has nearly 850,000 signatures to submit, well above the half-million total she needs for her initiative statute.

Hedge-fund manager, Tom Steyer, added 900,000 signatures to change the tax rules for companies headquartered out of state. Steyer hopes to raise a billion dollars to place in the general fund and energy conservation projects.

All together about 2.7 million signatures to raise taxes will soon be submitted. Are Californians in a tax raising mood?

The way ballot measures are hawked on the streets, it’s likely not all the signers realized they were signing a petition that could ultimately lead to tax increases. “Sign here to help schools,” was the typical refrain I heard. In addition, sometimes the signature gatherers ask for a signature with the plea: “Just help me get it on the ballot to let the voters decide.”

Let’s assume all the signatures represent a taxpayer who knows that he or she was asking for the tax increase to appear on the ballot. Further, let’s assume that each signature represents a different taxpayer. Clearly, not true because just spending a minute at the mall you can watch as some voters sign all the petitions the signature gatherer is carrying. But, for the sake of argument that’s 2.7 million taxpayers who want to see some kind of tax raised.

That’s a lot of votes if the petition signers come to the polls and vote for tax increases. Does that indicate a tax measure will pass in November?

In the 2009 special election, 1.6 million voters supported the temporary tax increases on the ballot. 3.1 million opposed. But, a special election in May will undoubtedly have a lower turnout than a November general election contest.

Let’s step back a little further in time. There were four tax measures on the 2006 ballots, one in June and three in November. The latter measures were designed to tax cigarettes, to tax oil and to create a statewide parcel tax on property dedicated to schools. All three were defeated. While 4.1 million voters supported the cigarette tax it fell 300,000 short. The oil tax got 3.8 million votes, nearly 800,000 behind the No vote. The parcel tax lost by 4.4 million votes.

The June vote may be more apropos to what November might hold.

Proposition 82 was designed to set up free pre-school and fund the program by taxing the rich. So a combination of schooling and taxing “the other guy”—the rich other guy, at that, was in play in June 2006 as it will be in November.

The Prop 82 initiative tagged the rich as single filers with $400,000 in taxable income. The Brown initiative declares someone rich at $250,000 in taxable income.

Proposition 82 received 1.9 million votes while just over 3-million voters said No.

The numbers are interesting and may not foreshadow the results in November. Certainly, different circumstances surround the coming election.

But past voting results coupled with recent poll numbers indicate that passing a tax measure will be hard to do.