By Judy Lin, Associated Press Writer
Posted: 05/15/2012 09:21:09 PM PDT
Updated: 05/15/2012 09:22:38 PM PDT

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Jerry Brown is pleading with Californians to raise their taxes as part of his solution for solving the state’s budget deficit, but it’s uncertain whether voters will be in an accepting mood come November.

Polls show voters want more money for schools but don’t want to tax themselves to pay for it. They continue to be pessimistic about the economy in a state with one of the highest jobless rates in the nation. And they distrust the Legislature, which oversees the budget.

Brown is facing a tough environment after announcing over the weekend that the state’s deficit had risen to $15.7 billion, much larger than he said a few months ago, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona.

“When the governor says devastating things are going to happen, people will say, `Look, you said the shortfall was going to be a lot smaller than it was. You were wrong then; why should we believe you now?”‘ Pitney said. “The governor is facing a trust deficit as well as a fiscal deficit.”

On Tuesday, the Democratic governor defended his plan to raise the statewide sales tax and seek higher income taxes on the wealthy, warning of deep cuts that include a school year shortened by as much as three weeks if voters reject his taxes.

He said it was not a scare tactic but rather the stark reality of a state that is not taking in enough tax revenue to cover its expenses. His administration projected that California’s economy will continue to recover at a modest pace but housing and unemployment continue to be a drag.

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