What can Brown do for California?

150 150 Armando Botello II

Next week, Jerry Brown will take the helm of the maligned entity known as the Golden State. Much of the state’s glimmer has been lost since the last time he led. But with the new year comes a new chapter in Brown’s career, and he has the opportunity to prove that his leadership can upend the status quo in Sacramento.

This morning, the Sacramento Bee reported that Governor-Elect Brown will hold a special election in June to ask voters to extend the temporary tax hikes enacted during the Schwarzenegger administration. This aligns perfectly with his campaign promise that he would not increase taxes without a vote, though it may be tougher than he originally planned. Because voters passed Proposition 26 in November 2010, it will now take a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to put the measures on the ballot.

If Brown can achieve that kind of bipartisan support within the Legislature in his first few months in office, he would have already done as much heavy lifting as the Austrian Oak.

For more news and views on the incoming governor and his plans once he takes office, please browse the links below. And if you haven’t already, please let Gov.-Elect Brown know what he can do for you on our Dear Gov page.

  • KQED – A Special Election: More Than Just the Budget (12/30) “A June statewide special election would push forward two measures currently scheduled for the February 2012 presidential primary election: a hike in the cigarette tax to pay for cancer research and a proposal to modify legislative term limits. A third measure on that 2012 ballot, to modify and enlarge the state’s “rainy day” reserve fund, is currently set in stone for that election — as it was placed there by the Legislature and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of the October budget deal. Of course, Brown and the new legislators could always move it up to 2011 in an effort to boost the narrative that they’d ostensibly be attempting to create with a 2011 special election: help us fix the budget system.”

  • Sacramento Bee – Brown plans to take tax hike to voters in June (12/30) “Gov.-elect Jerry Brown will propose a ballot measure to extend temporary tax hikes set to expire next year, while pressuring fellow Democrats to consent to billions of dollars in spending cuts in virtually every area of state government, sources said. The tax package, planned for the June ballot, would extend higher vehicle, sales and income tax rates. It likely won’t include additional new taxes, such as an oil severance tax.”

  • Associated Press – CA gov-elect silent on reports of tax extensions (12/30) “Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is keeping quiet about his plans to tackle a $28 billion budget deficit, despite reports that he plans to couple deep spending cuts with a special election next year to extend temporary tax increases. Brown adviser Steve Glazer said Thursday that the incoming governor’s scheduled budget release is the appropriate time for him to lay out his plan in full. The governor has to propose a budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year by Jan. 10.”

  • Prop Zero – Brown Wants to Extend Arnold Tax Hikes (12/30) “…the extension of such taxes is a heavy political lift. It’ll take a two-thirds vote of the legislature just to put measures on the ballot asking voters to extend the tax increases. Republican lawmakers have indicated they’ll block the measures. And even if the taxes somehow get on the ballot, it’s far from clear that voters will go along.”

  • Sacramento News & Review – Jerry Brown’s karma (12/30) “In early December, I asked Brown spokesman Steve Glazer when we might hear more about his vague campaign promise to “not raise taxes without a vote of the people.” Glazer said only that Brown’s current plan is to educate the stakeholders on the true magnitude of the budget crisis, and to propose cuts in services in early January. Don’t get ahead of the story, he cautioned.”

  • Los Angeles Times – Jerry Brown plays hardball on state budget (12/29) “Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is laying the groundwork for a budget plan that would couple deep cuts to state services, including university systems and welfare programs, with a request that voters extend temporary tax hikes on vehicles, income and sales that are set to expire next year. The blueprint Brown will unveil when he takes office early next month also is expected to take aim at several tax breaks and subsidiesthat have been fiercely guarded by the business lobby in Sacramento, according to people involved in budget discussions with the incoming administration.”

Armando Botello II is the communications associate at California Forward.


Armando Botello II

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