The third bi-monthly California Business Roundtable-Pepperdine University School of Public Policy poll shows Proposition 38’s personal income tax increase for schools jumping to a lead for the first time. Admittedly, there is still rough waters for the measure, which polls below 50-percent, but the most recent poll has Prop 38 ahead 45.3% to 41.9%. A month ago the Yes vote was 35% and the No vote was 54%.

Proposition 30, another tax increase measure with “education” in the ballot label also increased its numbers improving to about 57% Yes-37% No from 53% Yes-42% No in the last poll.

Dr. Michael Shires of Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy attributes the increase in numbers to the fact that students are going back to school and parents are hearing from school officials about programs that have been cut or may be cut.

Dr. Chris Condon of M4 Strategies, which conducted the poll, believes the ballot label improved Proposition 38’s status with potential voters. While the summary mentions that everyone earning an income over $7,316 in taxable income will be taxed under Prop 38, which hits most voters, the newly attached ballot label is more vague on that point.

One reason for the creation of this online poll is to test the voters’ reaction to ballot labels, titles and summaries and ballot arguments.

With the two school tax increase measures getting a boost in this poll it will be interesting to see how they tangle with each other on the campaign trail.

When Governor Jerry Brown kicked off his campaign for Proposition 30 he made a point to note that only his measure would prevent the trigger tax cuts built into the budget. Even if Prop 38 passes with a greater vote than Prop 30, the increased revenue from Prop 38 would not come in for a year. The trigger tax cuts would be in force.

That is, if the legislature doesn’t change the law or the schools don’t borrow against the future anticipated revenue.

On the other side, the Proposition 38 campaign took pains to point out under its plan the school the governor stood before to begin his campaign would receive more money under the provisions of Prop 38 than under Prop 30.

The sniping between the campaigns has just begun.

Powerful friends of the governor and his allies tried to persuade Prop 38 supporters to soften its campaign. The notion of a cease-fire contained in a letter signed by U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and legislative leaders Darrell Steinberg and John Perez was rejected by the Prop 38 campaign. The Yes on 38 campaign says it has to draw a contrast between the two measures so that the voters can make an informed decision.