Jerry Brown plans to take his case for taxes to voters

by
April 1, 2011

By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to hit the road next week, taking his case for more taxes directly to voters following the collapse of budget negotiations in Sacramento this week.

He is also moving forward with his own plan to overhaul public pensions, apparently in an effort to blunt GOPassertions that he refused to make budget concessions that would rankle public employee unions. The labor groups, big donors to Brown and other Democrats, have resisted fundamental changes to the state retirement system.

After failing to reach agreement with GOP lawmakers, Brown said in an interview Thursday that the time had come to take his message to parts of the state he has not visited since being elected in November. Those include many Republican districts.

“I’m not going to have these private meetings with the Republicans, because they have no one thing they want,” he said. “And to tell you the truth, they’re not sure what they want.”

The governor said he remained committed to putting before voters a measure that would extend billions of dollars in temporary tax hikes to balance the budget — even as some Democrats are exploring the possibility of tax hikes through a legislative vote.

Restating a campaign vow, Brown said the budget would have “no taxes without a vote of the people.”

He said that beginning next week, he would campaign with law enforcement groups, teachers and others, warning of further cutbacks in education, public safety and other areas if the taxes, all of which will have expired by July 1, are not extended.

“They’re the ones that are going to suffer from a Republican strike against the people,” Brown said.

Unable to get the four GOP votes he needed in the Legislature to put the tax issue on a statewide ballot, Brown called off budget talks this week. On Thursday, he said a tax measure would be placed before voters even if that means collecting signatures for an initiative rather than going through the Legislature.

“At this point, there is an overwhelming commitment on the part of the Republicans to deny the people of California the right to vote,” he said. “But we will have an election.”

To read more, visit: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-brown-pensions-20110401,0,5887939.story

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