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Jerry Brown says he's optimistic about bipartisan tax deal

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Displaying a mix of optimism and combativeness, Gov. Jerry Brown met with a small group of biotech executives in San Diego on Tuesday and said he thinks he can win over enough Republicans to secure passage of his jobs-and-taxes proposal.

Brown, at a news conference after a tour of Gen-Probe Inc., said negotiations with Republicans are continuous.

"I'm reasonably optimistic we're going to get something by the end of the week," he said. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the year on Sept. 9.

Republicans will want some changes in his legislation, Brown said, before he can get the necessary two GOP votes in the Assembly and two in the state Senate.

"Whatever they come up with, I'm sure it will be good," he said, with a hint of humor. "I don't want to count chickens before they hatch -- but there is a lot cackling going on."

The executives, sitting in the atrium of Gen-Probe's headquarters in Sorrento Valley, predicted that Brown's measure would stimulate job growth.

"We all know this economy is not going to self-correct," said David Gollaher, president and chief executive of the California Healthcare Institute, a trade group for the biomedical industry. "San Diego and the U.S., we have the talent ... but it's going to take creativity on the part of our political leaders."

The governor said his plan would lead to thousands of new jobs by eliminating the "toxic tax loophole" that has proved to be a "job-killer" by taxing California companies based on their payroll. The loophole was created by the Legislature some years ago during a last-minute, closed-door meeting, with many in attendance not realizing what they were doing, Brown said.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: California Gov. Jerry Brown delivers a speech on Tuesday to members of the media and workers at Gen-Probe Incorporated in San Diego.

 
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