CA Gov. Calls for Tax Hikes, State's Democratic Ballot Process Suddenly a Good Thing

L.A.- based Adam Nagourney covered California's budget impasse for Thursday's edition, "Standoff in Sacramento as Brown and G.O.P. Lock Horns Over Taxes." New Gov. Jerry Brown wants to put tax hikes in front of the voters through California's initiative and referendum process.

While the paper's previous California budget writer Jennifer Steinhauer showed her displeasure with direct democracy after voters rejected tax hikes under headlines like "Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent," and "In California, Democracy Doesn't Pay the Bills," Nagourney by contrast made encouraging noises about a public vote in the hope Brown's proposed tax hikes would pass. From Thursday's article:

Gov. Jerry Brown, seeking authorization to ask California voters to extend expiring taxes to avoid more draconian budget cuts, is fighting what increasingly appears to be an intractable battle.

With every passing day, Mr. Brown seems more frustrated and perplexed at the intensity of the opposition he faces from Republican legislators, who are refusing to even allow him to go before voters with his tax proposal. He is trying to pick off Republican votes - he needs two in the Senate and two in the Assembly to reach the two-thirds threshold - while he and other Democratic leaders have stepped up a public campaign to warn voters of the consequences of not extending the taxes.


At base, Mr. Brown and Democratic leaders are offering voters a stark choice: support an extension of three expiring taxes - income, sales and car registration surcharges - or endure even more severe cuts in state spending. Mr. Brown said lawmakers who thought there was another option for closing the budget gap were delusional.