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Clock is ticking for Gov. Brown's Prop. 30 [Google+ hangout]

October 31, 2012 | 11:28 am

Times reporter Chris Megerian will join city editor Shelby Grad at 1 p.m. for a Google+ hangout on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30.

A recent poll showed slipping support for the proposition, and the governor still has not settled on a central sales pitch for his tax-hike initiative, even though election day is fast approaching.

Republican leaders in the California Legislature are already planning their next steps if voters reject the measure next week.

VOTER GUIDE: 2012 California Propositions

From Times reporters Michael J. Mishak and Anthony York's weekend story on Brown's message behind Prop. 30:

On the stump, Brown emphasizes that most of the tax increases will affect only the wealthiest Californians. The campaign ads make little mention of that.

The mixed messages underscore the Democratic governor's struggle to persuade skeptical taxpayers to open their wallets and provide fodder for a well-financed opposition to plant doubt among voters. A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll showed support for the proposal slipping below 50% for the first time.

The shifting "creates uncertainty and makes voters head in the 'no' direction," said John Matsusaka, president of the Initiative & Referendum Institute at USC.

Californians have not approved a statewide tax increase since 2004, when they voted for a levy on those making more than $1 million to pay for expanded county mental health programs.

Brown has acknowledged the difficulty of selling new levies to voters, saying his campaign made a strategic decision not to mention the word "taxes" in its ads.

ALSO:

Authorities racing the clock to identify Arizona donors

If taxes fail, Republicans say they can help avoid cuts to schools

Proposition 30's backers and critics rally supporters in final week

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