Brown May Seek Ballot Initiative on Tax, Sacramento Bee Reports

Wednesday, 23 Mar 2011 06:35 AM

 

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California Governor Jerry Brown may seek a November referendum on extending tax increases using the ballot initiative process, the Sacramento Bee reported, citing an unidentified person.

Brown’s plan for a special election in June is stalled in the Legislature, where he’s at least four votes short of the required two-thirds majority. The 72-year-old Democrat might consider another alternative and revise the bill to require only a simple majority vote by the Legislature, the Bee said.

Democrats hold majorities in the Assembly and the Senate, but fall short of two-thirds. Brown has been lobbying Republicans to make up the difference, hoping to help close a budget gap by getting voter approval to retain $9.3 billion in higher taxes and fees that are expiring.

“There’s a lot of rumors going around the Capitol,” a Brown spokeswoman, Elizabeth Ashford, said in a telephone interview. “The governor’s focus is on getting the votes and he believes he can get them.”

Brown won election to a third term on a promise to restore fiscal stability to the nation’s most populous and most indebted state as it faces a $26.6 billion deficit through June 2012.

Brown has two routes to the ballot: the two-thirds vote in the Legislature, or a petition process requiring 504,760 valid signatures, according to the Secretary of State’s website.

Brown has been pushing for a referendum on the tax question June 7 or June 14. State law requires the Legislature to adopt a balanced budget by July 1. It’s unclear how Brown would meet such a requirement with a ballot initiative four months later, in November.

Democratic majorities in the Legislature slashed $12.5 billion from spending March 17.


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