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Group of billionaires, political insiders postpones November tax initiative

January 17, 2012 |  3:53 pm

A group of prominent Californians said Tuesday that it will delay, for two years, going to voters with an initiative to raise taxes by up to $10 billion, but held out the possibility that it might back a tax hike proposed for this year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The move clears some of the potential congestion from the November statewide ballot.

Surveys indicate state voters support tax reform, according to a statement by the Think Long Committee for California, which includes former Gov. Gray Davis, billionaire Eli Broad, and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George.

"At the same time, we recognize the practical constraints of the 2012 election calendar – and have come to the conclusion that it will take more time to perfect these proposals, eliminate unintended consequences and provide every stakeholder and everyday Californians a meaningful voice in that process," the group said in a statement.

The group said it will aim to put a measure on the November 2014 ballot, but said it will soon announce its intention "to partner with other organizations by generously supporting one or more reform measures" already proposed for the November 2012 ballot.

Brown has proposed that voters be asked to approve a half-cent increase in the sales tax and higher levies on wealthy residents this year. Think Long has proposed raising taxes by as much as $10 billion a year, in part through a sales tax on services, with the money earmarked for schools, universities and local governments.

Gov. Brown said in a statement: “Think Long is doing very important work, and I look forward to working with them on the critical issue of more permanent tax reform.”

--Patrick McGreevy, reporting from Sacramento


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