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Jerry Brown derides talk of tax cuts as 'flim-flam'

Gov. Jerry Brown took to the radio Tuesday to defend his budget plan asking for a public referendum on extending temporary taxes, and predicted that in the end he would have the votes in the Legislature to place such a measure on the ballot.

"I don’t seriously think that there’ll be too many legislators that say, in effect to the people, ‘Just shut up, we don’t want to hear from you, we’ll take care of it,’ ” Brown said in an interview with KCBS, a Bay Area radio station.

Brown, a Democrat, used his State of the State address on Monday to castigate Republican legislators who are opposed to placing the tax question on a June special election ballot. Denying the public such a vote would be “unconscionable,” he said, drawing parallels to the pro-democracy unrest in North Africa.

On Tuesday, Brown also brushed aside an idea, floated by some conservatives, to place a second measure on the ballot that would allow voters to cut taxes as much as Brown’s measure would raise them.

Brown called the proposal “flim-flam.” Such a tax cut would only widen the state’s already enormous $25.4-billion deficit, he argued.

"Don't say, 'I'm going to solve this problem by creating a bunch of new problems that we will have even more trouble handling,' " Brown said.

Brown said that should voters reject the tax extensions, he would have to cut deeply into nearly every area of government -- “which is schools, which is police, which is the elderly, which is wherever we can get it.”

And the cutbacks to schools would shrink the academic year, he suggested: "We’re not talking days, we’re talking weeks."

But Brown said he was prepared to follow the public will at the ballot. “Whatever they say … I’ll carry it out,” he said.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

 
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