Governor: Calif GOP won't be spooked by anti-tax advocate

Governor: Calif GOP won't be spooked by anti-tax advocate
California Capitol
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he doesn't think the few Republicans he's talking to about tax extensions will be spooked by a visit from anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist.

Brown, a Democrat, expressed more optimism about picking up the four GOP votes he needs to put before voters an extension of the state sales, personal income and vehicle taxes. Although lawmakers passed a budget bill earlier this year, they still face a June 15 deadline to balance the new spending plan.

Norquist, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform, visited lawmakers at the California Capitol on Tuesday. He said he wanted to remind Republicans that they were elected to reform government, not to raise taxes.

He said Brown should follow the lead of other governors who are pulling back on spending.

"A lot of us hoped Gov. Brown would have learned from the mistakes of the previous administration — a lot of the overspending problems, the labor union problem. And I would have hoped he would have learned from his mistakes, rather than replicate them," Norquist told reporters.

Brown, who spent the day meeting with the presidents of the California State University system, said Californians should decide their own fate.

"It's going to be a closely divided vote, and California will never be the same," Brown said after the meeting. "And that's why I think it's so important that we have the people vote — not just inside this building, not just visiting ideologues from the Potomac River, but all the people of California who are eligible to vote to come out and say, 'Yes, we want this' or 'No, we don't.' And then we'll carry on based on a legitimate mandate from the people of California."

Brown and Democratic lawmakers want to renew increases to the personal income, sales and vehicles taxes that were approved two years ago but are scheduled to expire June 30.

He is seeking to renew the 1 percent increase to the state sales tax and the half percent increase to the vehicle license fee for five years, beginning this year, and reinstate the quarter percent increase to the personal income tax for the 2012 through 2015 tax years.

Brown has said he hopes to take the taxes to voters in September.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said if the taxes are not continued, the university system would have to raise fees by 30 percent and turn away more than 20,000 students.