Skip to main content

KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Gov. Brown Makes Case For Higher Taxes

Gov. Jerry Brown gave Californians a choice between higher taxes and deeper cuts to public schools and other core functions of government during his State of the State address Wednesday, essentially beginning his campaign for a planned November ballot initiative on taxes.

We're sorry. This audio clip is no longer available. A transcript has been made available.

The Democratic governor said his push for temporary tax increases to the wealthy and the state sales tax are the best options to end California's cycle of budget deficits and cutbacks to teachers, social service programs and health care services for the poor. He noted that his budget for the coming fiscal year closes a $9.2 billion deficit with a roughly equal proportion of spending cuts and tax increases.

"Neither is popular but both must be done," he said.

Despite support from within his own party, Brown's path to November will not be easy.

At least two other groups are proposing their own tax initiatives for the ballot, creating a logjam of similar issues that could confuse voters and lead them to reject all the proposals. At the same time, Republican lawmakers and anti-tax advocates are prepared to counter the governor's proposal by saying state government is still unable to control its spending.

The Republican leaders of the Assembly and Senate issued a joint statement criticizing Brown's address even before it was delivered to a joint session of the Legislature.

"Unfortunately, the governor's vision is centered around one thing — higher taxes," said Assembly Minority Leader Connie Conway of Tulare. "Governor Brown says that the sky will fall if Californians don't agree to a $35 billion dollar tax increase. You and I know that this simply isn't so."

Brown said his tax hike would generate $7 billion a year through 2017, by raising income taxes on individuals who make $250,000 a year or more and boosting the state sales tax by half a cent. The Legislative Analyst's Office differs on the amount of revenue likely to come from the wealthy and says Brown's plan actually will generate far less — about $4.8 billion a year.

"As for the initiative, it is fair. It is temporary," Brown said. "It is half of what people were paying in 2010. And it will protect our schools and guarantee — in the constitution — funding for the public safety programs we transferred to local government."

Wednesday was the second State of the State address of Brown's third term in the governor's office, coming after a year in which he failed to persuade Republicans to along with another tax plan. Last year, he wanted the Legislature to extend a series of expiring tax hikes but could not muster the required two-thirds vote.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Midday Edition banner

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily radio news magazine keeping San Diego in the know on everything from politics to the arts.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.