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Governor Brown visits Riverside to gain Republican support

Governor Brown visited a Riverside elementary school to try to gain Republican support to extend temporary tax hikes.

April 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
From a possible government shutdown in Washington D.C. to a political stalemate in California, budget problems are plaguing lawmakers on every level of government.

Governor Jerry Brown was in Riverside Friday trying to gain Republican support to extend temporary tax hikes another five years. He wants a special election to extend vehicle, sales and personal income taxes.

Brown said if the taxes are not extended, California schools will face drastic cuts. He's delivering Friday's message at Arlanza Elementary School.

Brown needs the votes of two Republicans in both the Senate and Assembly for the two-thirds majority needed to place a five-year extension of tax increases initially adopted in 2009 on a special election ballot.

Voter approval of tax increases is not required under the state constitution, but fulfills a pledge Brown made during his campaign to seek voter approval for any tax increase.

"What's at stake here is not politicians' rhetoric," Brown said Wednesday. "It's California, and truly America."

Republicans oppose a special election to extend or restore the tax increases, and contend cuts to public employee pensions and the bloated state government would slash the estimated $15 billion deficit.

"The governor and the Legislature are elected to make the policy choices that go into the tough budget decision and should do so," said Assemblyman Donald P. Wagner, R-Irvine. "Putting these questions to yet another vote merely shirks our responsibilities."

In January, Brown proposed a budget with $12.5 billion in spending cuts, including $1 billion in reduced appropriations for the University of California and California State University systems.

Funding for kindergarten through 12th grade education would not be affected under the original budget blueprint. However, the failure to put the tax extension and restoration on a special election ballot would require additional cuts to reach the legally required balanced budget.

Programs facing steep cuts in Brown's proposed budget include Medi-Cal ($1.7 billion); the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program ($1.5 billion); and Department of Developmental Services ($750 million).

State employees not covered under union agreements would also see up to 10 percent pay cuts.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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