Politics

Gov. Brown appears at legislative committee meeting

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Sacramento, the governor made an unprecedented appearance before a legislative committee on Thursday, trying to sell lawmakers on his plan to close the budget deficit.

"I'm telling you, time is running out," said Gov. Jerry Brown.

While Brown's appearance at a budget hearing was unusual, it gave the public a look at an unprecedented and lively exchange between him and lawmakers about how to address the state's now $26 billion deficit.

Brown took aim at Republicans, most of whom took a pledge to block all attempts to ask voters to extend temporary tax hikes the governor needs to prevent deeper spending cuts.

"When you folks say no, no vote, no plan, no, that's not American. It's not acceptable, and it's not loyalty to California," said Brown.

"I have no problem saying I won't raise taxes," said Assm. Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point.

Harkey wants to see major changes in retirement benefits and business regulations first before talking about raising taxes.

Jerry: "We want some pension reform. We want regulatory reform."
Diane: "You know ..."
Jerry: "I put up more than some of these folks want."
Diane: "I'm sorry, Governor."
Jerry: "This is your chance to make them do something that they all don't want to do. All you have to do is step up and do something you don't want to do."
Diane: "The only thing we ever hear in this house about revenue is increasing taxes."

Brown even told Republicans he'd be OK with them voting yes to put tax extensions on the ballot and having them launch an aggressive campaign to encourage Californians to vote no.

Still, letting voters weigh in is a tough sell. On the other side of the aisle, Democrats didn't escape criticism either because if the tax extensions aren't approved, another $12 billion in cuts will have to be made -- a move that makes them cringe.

"If we don't get the tax extensions, I am not going to sign a budget that is not an all cuts budget, and it's going to be turbulent," said Brown.

With more cuts a very real possibility, adult health daycare providers delivered thousands of signed petitions to the governor and other state leaders, begging to spare them. The governor's made it clear, that all depends on extending taxes.

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Tags:
tax, jerry brown, sacramento, california budget, politics, nannette miranda
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