Governor pushes Republicans to put tax proposal before voters

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Julie Small/KPCC

Gov. Jerry Brown urged Republicans to support his plan for plugging the state's massive budget gap during a meeting on Feb. 24, 2011.

Governor Jerry Brown addressed a key state budget committee Thursday seeking support for his plan to plug a $26 billion deficit. Brown also lambasted Republicans for blocking the proposal.

The governor addressed the joint committee just a day after two-thirds of Republicans in the legislature pledged to prevent him from asking voters to extend some temporary taxes. Brown scolded them for that — and challenged them to come up with a better alternative.

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

Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Orange County) bristled at that.

"When you say that all we say is ‘no’ I am very, very hurt and very insulted," said Harkey, "because I have tried to have an open dialogue on this. But the only thing you want ‘yes’ to and the only thing the members of the other side of the aisle wants ‘yes’ to because they have a majority budget — is ‘yes’ to more taxes — and we can’t go there."

Republicans have said they want more cuts and pension reform, and less state business regulation.

Some political analysts think Brown will be able to pass the budget with only Democratic votes, but the governor’s repeatedly said he wants bi-partisan support.

"We gotta pull the state together," Brown said. "This is pretty drastic — more drastic for the cuts but also even the extensions are highly significant and I want people to vote on them: yes or no? And whatever people decide I’m going to carry it out."

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