By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Gov. Jerry Brown has formally proposed a $7 billion a year increase in sales and income taxes to close the state’s chronic budget deficit.
Whether it will be the only tax increase on the November ballot is uncertain. Several others are in the works, and if they reach the ballot as well, voter confusion could doom all. But assuming that Brown’s stands alone, how would the campaign shape up?
By next year, he presumably will have pulled the spending cut “triggers” built into the 2011-12 budget because revenues are not meeting its extremely optimistic levels, which would mean schools, colleges and some social programs would be hit again.
Also, he and legislators would presumably have put together a 2012-13 budget that continues or even expands those cuts. Therefore, he and his union allies will argue that raising taxes – income taxes on the rich and sales taxes on everyone – is absolutely necessary to preserve vital programs, especially education.
As Brown said in his open letter announcing the tax campaign, “Schools have been hurt and state funding for our universities has been reduced by 25 percent. Support for the elderly and the disabled has fallen to where it was in 1983. Our courts suffered debilitating reductions.
“The stark truth is that without new tax revenues, we will have no other choice but to make deeper and more damaging cuts to schools, universities, public safety and our courts.”
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