Gov. Brown Debates Lawmakers In Rare Budget Exchange

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — In an unprecedented public give-and-take, Gov. Jerry Brown appeared before a legislative committee Thursday and engaged rank-and-file lawmakers in a discussion about how to address California’s $26.6 billion budget deficit.

   The Democratic governor is trying to sell lawmakers on his proposal for a June special election that would allow voters to decide on a five-year extension of increases to state sales, income and vehicle taxes.

   The hour-long hearing was remarkable for the frankness of the exchanges between the governor and lawmakers that gave the public a wide-open look at what typically is a closed-door process.

   “I believe in this situation that a check in with the people is absolutely mandatory — mandatory not just to say, do we extend taxes. But it’s also to get people’s acceptance if we’re going to have all these cuts,” Brown told the joint committee formed to reconcile the Assembly and Senate versions of Democratic budget bills.

   “Because if you’re going to have $25 billion in cuts and you’re going to cut four or five weeks of the school (year), then I think people are going to be shocked if you didn’t ask their permission,” the governor said.

   He told Democrats they would have to accept more spending cuts and advised Republicans that authorizing a special election is not the same as voting for tax increases.

   On Wednesday, 29 of the 42 Republicans in the Legislature announced they had formed a “Taxpayers Caucus” to oppose the special election unless voters also are given a chance to enact a tax cut of equal or larger value.

   The temporary increases to the sales, income and vehicles taxes were approved in 2009 to address that year’s deficit but are set to expire this year.

   Brown has proposed spending cuts that are roughly equal to the amount of revenue that would be raised if voters authorized the extension of the tax increases.

   Brown said Republican pledges to avoid tax increases “make good theater,” but the state is desperate for a solution to its ongoing budget problems.

   “For those who say they don’t want to vote, then why are you here? And if you’re going to be here, give me some ideas,” the governor said to lawmakers on the committee.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • jc

    You mean we actually have a Governor who is telling the legislature that they will have to be accountable for their actions and let the people decide how things shall be run….bravo Jerry.

  • Andrew

    Way to go, Jerry, Jerry, Jerry……

  • LiberalForever

    I still say NO NEW TAXES. We have to make more budget cuts. Welfare, illegal immigrants, state workers’ pension all have to be drasticallyl reduced if we ever want to balance the budget. Why cant the legislature just make the cuts and stop asking for more revenue? We dont have a deficit of revenue, we have a problem with too much spending

    • luvcritters

      I agree with this. You hit the nail on the head.

    • cmian

      This is not NEW TAXES! This is an extension of the current taxes. The reason we need reduced spending AND to keep the current taxation level is that we are in a financial crisis – not just on paper, not just to support a certain political party, REALITY CHECK, this state and most of the US is in financial crisis.. Some people won’t be happy until our whole infrastructure has collapsed. Of course then they will want to blame the last guy in office. Short sighted thinking has gotten us in this mess, long term planning is the only solution, regardless of political affiliation.

  • Reallly?

    Just love this idea of a “Taxpayer’s Caucus”. Why don’t you label it for what you mean? If people are actually willing to take service cuts to balance the budget, you’re afraid that it will make Brown, an opposition party member, look good.

    Instead of looking for a solution, you want to allow the People of California, who have shown that we’re a fairly ignorant bunch, to vote for a tax cut. A tax cut, mind you, that would make our situation WORSE. Bunch of friggin’ idiots. On the up-side, I guess, if we collectively get any dumber, then the 29 members of this Taxpayer’s Caucus can legitmately claim to be among the smartest people in the state….

  • WHAT ?

    I will ( not) vote for the tax extension,unless we are able to hold the state
    government’s feet to the fire.They would have to show us improvement each
    year and this should be on the bill. ALL FIVE YEARS
    I don’t want to vote this in and see it go to state worker’s as raises, pensions,
    benefits or to some new project not thought of.
    Think about it how much good did this do in the past???
    The state gets the tax’s and then forgets who paid them, and why they were collected.
    Is this going to bring us back into the black,or more waste ??

  • Don

    Do not extend the tax rip-off. The sky will not fall if they don’t get more money to waste

    • Lance

      What you don’t understand is if we have to fire all these teachers, firemen, police, state workers then we have to pay them unemployment. In turn they lose their houses, cars, etc. Then we’re even more deeper in debt and nothing has been solved.

  • Lance

    You don’t want any more taxes but are you willing to give up most of your police force, firemen, and paying more people unemployment for people who lost their jobs, the people who will lose their houses and cars because they can no longer make payments. You can cut cut cut but someone has to pay for all of the cutting.

  • TIM

    Simple as that…Vote no on any tax extension. WE ARE TAXED ENOUGH!

    • Jim Beede

      On a scale relative to most other states and countries, we are barely taxed. California has voted for the death penalty (very expensive), three strikes (reduces crime but also expensive), but are not willing to pay for these measures. There are a host of other expensive propositions that we voted for but we are not willing to pay for. If we are not taxed we will not have services that the state pays. Then who will pay? We will.

      • Jim

        Like hell we’ll pay. You are at the beginning of a true Taxpayer Revolt. I don’t know what your situation is, but I am 72 years old and have lived in the bay
        area since the second world war.

        This once great state has moved slowly to the left since the 60’s and the state
        has always accommodated the different viewpoints of it’s citizens, Things
        changed when Jerry Brown said government workers could join unions and
        changed drastically when Gray Davis opened the floodgates to higher pay & higher pensions (paid for by the citizens)

        The non-government employees within the state were forced to pay for these increases while the employees paid for NOTHING.

        P.s. You’re a government employee, arn’t you?


    one machete, one day, one new budget, that is all it take me. Although all of the dems would be very unhappy, it is all about the spending – there should be no new taxes. In fact, there s/b a tax decrease. It is absolutely absurd that Calif is one of the highest taxed states.

  • Ernie

    .How much does this state spend on illegal immigrants? When you include special programs for aid, education, law enforcement, and health benefits, I would think that if the state prioritized their cuts to the illegal needs first, we would be on our way to recovery. Then you can concentrate on unfunded pension plans for Politicians and Bureaucrats. After you get the playing field level, you can go tax payers and ask for a hand out.

  • Mike

    Why do I need to keep paying more in taxes for the public unions to keep all their perks? I am a businessman that holds two State contracts and can not believe the waste that goes on between both of those contracts.

    I have been forced to layoff 10 employees over the past two years because of the economy. Neither State agency I deal with has thought of cutting staff. What they are doing is training them in different areas to keep them on life support. That is fine with me as long as I don’t have to pay for it.

    Brown wants to extend the taxes for another 5 years. You know exactly what will happen in 5 years. It will be extended again because the problem was never fixed. Californians stand up and fix the problem today instead of leaving it for our children.

  • Da Neen

    One of my favorite quotes from Full Metal Jacket seems appropriate:
    “It’s a giant $h!t sandwich and we are all going to have to take a bite.”

  • Jeff

    Brown is a pathetic illegal third term Gov bought and paid for by the unions. Whom are not hurt by his budget proposal unless his tax increase measure fails to pass. Calling lawmakers un-American because they will not vote your way and allow a stupid expensive election to take place is just childish and uncalled for, but then again Brown is a child.

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