By David Siders
The Sacramento Bee
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 – 7:49 am

Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he expects the first half of the new year to be dominated again by California’s budget problems, as he proposes more spending cuts and tries to clear the November ballot of tax measures that might compete with his.

“Pulling it all together,” Brown told reporters at the Capitol in Sacramento, “will be probably just as hard as last year.

“The Democratic governor said he is meeting with business and labor leaders about his tax proposal and is seeking “a clean election, a clean shot, one major measure” for the November ballot. His plan – which would raise an estimated $7 billion a year by temporarily increasing the state sales tax and income taxes on California’s highest earners – is the most likely to pass, he said.
“One of the things about elections, you want them simple,” Brown said, adding that complexity only “gives fodder to the opposition.”Brown said the California Chamber of Commerce may not formally endorse his tax proposal, but many of its member businesses will support it.

“I did find that, in talking to very wealthy people, they don’t get overly excited about increasing their taxes,” Brown said. “Generally, they’re more willing to tolerate it than embrace it.

“Earlier this month, Brown announced $980 million in midyear cuts to colleges, child care and other programs, and is expected to propose further spending cuts in his annual budget plan next month.

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