By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com
Published: Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 – 8:34 am

Gov. Jerry Brown has big plans for next year’s ballot: tax increases, pension changes and a funding guarantee for local law enforcement.

But he isn’t raising money for those causes. In a state where governors typically collect millions of dollars in campaign donations in their first 12 months in office, the Democratic governor raised about $45,000 through June. Since then, he has reported another $64,000.

Not since 1983, when Gov. George Deukmejian collected $37,000, has a first-year governor raised so little money.

Gov. Pete Wilson raised $2.6 million in his first year, 1991. Gov. Gray Davis raised $13.2 million in 1999, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger raised $28.8 million five years later. Davis was strapping up for re-election, while Schwarzenegger pushed most of his money into a series of first-year ballot measures, ultimately successfully.

Brown, a proficient fundraiser when he wants to be, has hardly tried. On Wednesday he reported one of his largest single-day hauls in months, raising a relatively trivial $30,000 from three labor groups, a law firm and a lawyer at a reception in Orange County last month.

“He’s been focused on the work of governing,” said Steve Glazer, Brown’s political adviser. “Political matters like fundraising have taken a back seat.”

Yet Brown is forming a political agenda that will require funding. He is seeking to place constitutional amendments on the November 2012 ballot to reduce pension benefits and guarantee ongoing funding for counties assuming part of the state’s prison workload. He is also expected to propose tax increases.

John Burton, chairman of the California Democratic Party, said Brown is “busy being governor” and that no one is “upset with Jerry, you know, not running around raising money.”

Dave Low, executive director of the California School Employees Association, said he isn’t “losing sleep over it.”

Low said, “We’re sort of waiting to see what he comes out with, and if he comes out with anything for next year … I would imagine that if he decides to move something forward, he will have the capacity to raise money.”

If Davis and Schwarzenegger proved anything, it is that incumbent governors – typically enjoying high public approval ratings in their freshman years – can raise large amounts of money quickly.

Brown has about $5 million left over from his gubernatorial campaign, but he has said he might not use any of that money for a tax measure. When asked this fall about law enforcement funding, Brown said, “We’ll have to raise money the old-fashioned way. You ask people, dial for dollars.”

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