On politics in the Golden State

Category: Proposition 30

Gov. Jerry Brown: 'Texas, come on over'


Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he was hardly alarmed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest effort to poach California businesses.

“Of course they’re coming here,” Brown said. “So are the British coming here, so are the French, so are the Russians, so are the Chinese — everybody with half a brain is coming to California. So Texas, come on over.”

Brown spoke Monday in Hollywood at Founders Forum 2013, a conference on innovation for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. During his brief speech, he urged business leaders to be creative and invest in online education. He cited companies such as Apple, Google and Facebook as a sign of California’s modern successes.

After his speech, Brown responded to a new survey of California business leaders, released Monday by the California Business Roundtable. The survey found that 69% of business leaders said it was harder to do business in California than in other states. Nearly the same number, 62%, rate California’s economy worse than the rest of the country.

“It’s nonsense,” Brown said. “Some things are hard to do. If you want to open some kind of tannery on Wilshire Boulevard, you’re going to get a lot of opposition. If you want to open a creative enterprise, you’re going to get open arms.”

He said that between his two terms as governor, California’s gross domestic product rose from $150 billion a year to nearly $2 trillion, a testament to the success of California businesses. Although California doesn’t allow everything, he said, the ideas and opportunity on the Pacific Rim make it an ideal place to do business.

“That’s life — life is obstacles,” Brown said. “I didn’t get to be governor 37 years later by not overcoming obstacles. Yes, there are problems. But that’s the stimulus for our current creativity.” 


Brown commits to major Medi-Cal expansion

Texas Gov. Rick Perry launches ads to lure California businesses

State of the State: 'California did the impossible,' Brown says

— Laura Nelson in Los Angeles

Follow her on Twitter: @laura_nelson

Photo:  Google+ logo is seen at annual developer conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco last year. Credit: AFP Photo / Kimihiro Hoshino  


Texas Gov. Rick Perry launches ads to lure California businesses

APphoto_Texas State of the State

“Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible.”

So says Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a new advertising campaign targeted at California companies.

The Lone Star governor plans to broadcast the radio ads throughout the Golden State in an effort to lure companies here to move east. Such poaching is familiar to Californians.

The economy here dwarfs that of any state, but its tax rates are higher and regulations more onerous. Other states are constantly sending their economic development teams to California to try to lure firms away.

Perry likes to joke that he goes on “hunting trips” here, in which the game he is after is dissatisfied California firms. His latest move may be as much political as it is economic. The 2012 presidential campaign was not kind to the Texas governor’s image. He entered the GOP primaries a clear favorite, with a high approval rating and an impressive fundraising operation. He exited after a series of gaffes and missteps and has had a limited national profile since.

Taking aim at California has always been a favorite sport of Republicans seeking to bolster their national standing. On the website that Perry launched to accompany Texas' advertising campaign, the he goes after the latest round of tax hikes passed in California, which increased the marginal rates on the income of the superwealthy to more than 13%, among the highest in the nation. “Now with the passage of Prop. 30, which increases California’s already excessive income and sales tax … businesses are moving to Texas,” Perry writes in an open letter posted on the website.

Experts differ on how successful these campaigns are. Corporate executives are constantly grumbling about conditions here. Some have, indeed, left. More could go now that taxes have been hiked. But the collapse of the state economy that antitax advocates and others have warned about for decades has yet to take shape. Despite a badly battered budget exacerbated by years of political dysfunction, the state’s economy is showing strong signs of growth, with some California sectors helping lead the national recovery.


California escapes the ratings cellar

California taxes surge in January, report says

Jerry Brown, lawmakers get higher marks in new poll

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento


Photo: Gov. Rick Perry delivers his state of the state address to lawmakers in the Capitol in Austin, Texas, last week. Credit: Eric Gay / Associated Press


Brown found path to Prop 30. victory in a divided California

Brown election night

On Tuesday night, a triumphant Gov. Jerry Brown told supporters in Sacramento that his tax-hike measure was a “unifying force.” Californians were coming together, he said, to support schools and patch the state budget.  

But Brown’s victory may not have been possible without the deepening divisions that have characterized American politics. Even as support for his ballot measure slipped, the governor was able to rely on a firewall of hard-core allies that eventually carried Proposition 30 to victory.

The measure will increase the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years and raise income tax rates on the wealthy by 1 to 3 percentage points for seven years. Without the new taxes, Brown said, the state would have had to make nearly $6 billion in budget cuts, mostly to public schools.

In October, while Brown was largely absent from the campaign trail, public opinion polls showed Proposition 30 leading with a shrinking margin, then dropping below 50% support for the first time.

The slide led to a round of hand-wringing among some of the Proposition 30 resultsgovernor’s allies, since Sacramento operatives have long cautioned that it’s very difficult to pass a tax increase with less than 60% support.

But members of Brown’s team said they were not concerned. They said such benchmarks were relics of a time where the political landscape was populated with Reagan Democrats and Rockefeller Republicans -– moderate voters who could swing either way on an issue like taxes.

Ace Smith, the campaign manager, said that “conventional wisdom has become stale.”

Today, ideological schisms have hardened both sides of the political spectrum, and Brown's team said it didn’t need such a wide margin because its base had become more reliable.

Polls showed that voters who were undecided on Brown’s tax plan were more likely to be Democrats than Republicans, and campaign operatives said they eventually lined up behind the governor’s measure.

Brown began a series of rapid-fire campaign events in the final weeks before the election, and Kevin Gordon, a lobbyist for schools, said the strategy paid off.

"People were really doubtful about its ability to pass," he said. "The governor gets incredibly high marks for his political genius, no doubt about it."


California Democrats emerge more powerful after election

Bond-rating agency sees a fork in the road for California finances

Voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, AP says

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown talks to reporters about Proposition 30 during an election night party in Sacramento on Tuesday. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Celebrating Prop. 30 win, Jerry Brown vows to hold line on spending

After scoring a major victory with the passage of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown said he would temper impulses to ramp up state spending with billions of dollars more coming into state coffers
After scoring a major victory with the passage of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday he would temper impulses at the state Capitol to ramp up spending with billions of dollars more coming into California's coffers.

"Now we have more revenue, but that revenue will be used prudently and judiciously," he said. "And I don’t underestimate the struggle over the next several years to keep on a very calm, clear and sustainable glide path."

Speaking to reporters in Sacramento, the governor said Tuesday's election result was not a mandate for profligate spending.

RESULTS: California election | National election

"I think the real lesson here is that voters have trusted the elected representatives, maybe even trusted me to some extent, and now we've got to meet that trust. But we've got to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges like we did in the days when we had the dot-com boom."

When asked how he would maintain that discipline, Brown cited a mantra he recited every night before bed while studying at a Zen monastery in Japan in the 1980s.

"Desires are endless," he said. "I vow to cut them down."


Voters reject Proposition 32, AP says

Assembly speaker confident he has a two-thirds majority

Voters approve Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, AP says

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown walks off the stage after a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Jerry Brown, California Democrats appear to be big winners in election

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6-billion-a-year tax initiative to rescue California schools and the state's finances appeared to squeak by with a victory early Wednesday, and Democrats' grip on Sacramento tightened as the party crept toward winning a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature.

Tuesday's election also brought an end to the three-decade-long congressional career of Rep. Howard Berman, who early Wednesday morning conceded defeat in his political slugfest against fellow Democrat Brad Sherman in the San Fernando Valley.

The bitter contest between Sherman and Berman, awash in more than $13 million in campaign spending by the candidates and independent political groups, was triggered when California's newly drawn political boundaries put the two incumbents in the same district.

"I congratulate Brad. ... I will do whatever I can to ensure a cooperative and orderly transition," Berman said in a concise concession statement early Wednesday.

FULL RESULTS: California races

In a similar high-profile mash-up between Democrats, Rep. Janice Hahn of San Pedro was cruising to an easy win against Rep. Laura Richardson of Long Beach in a newly drawn district that includes many minority, working-class communities, election results showed.

Among other closely watched races for California House seats, Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park) narrowly defeated state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Moorpark) in Ventura County, and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) bested former Republican Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, according to results with all voter precincts reporting in those districts.

California's senior U.S. senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, won an easy reelection victory over nonprofit executive Elizabeth Emken, her underfunded, little-known Republican challenger.

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

The governor woke up Wednesday as one of the biggest apparent victors in Tuesday’s election, however.

Facing well-funded opposition, Brown campaigned heavily for Proposition 30 as a way to restore fiscal sanity to Sacramento and to stave off deep cuts to public schools and universities. The initiative calls for a quarter-cent increase to sales taxes for four years and a seven-year tax hike on California’s highest earners.

Californians have not approved a statewide tax increase since 2004.

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a competing measure bankrolled by millionaire civil rights lawyer Molly Munger -- Proposition 38 – which would have increased income taxes for most Californians to raise funds primarily for schools and early childhood education.

In one of the highest-profile state ballot measures, labor unions appeared to defeat Proposition 32, which would have reduced their political influence by barring unions from using paycheck deductions for political purposes.

Californians also soured on a measure to abolish the death penalty -– Proposition 34 -- which was trailing badly with most of the voter precincts reporting Wednesday morning.

Other law-and-order measures were greeting more warmly. Voters favored Proposition 36, which would change the three-strikes sentencing law so offenders whose third strikes were minor, nonviolent crimes could no longer be given 25 years to life in prison.

Voters also supported Proposition 35, which promoted increased punishment for sex trafficking of a minor. Both led by wide margins with most ballots counted.

With most ballots tallied across California, initiatives to label genetically engineered foods and change state law to create a new car insurance discount appeared headed for defeat.

One of the biggest surprises of the election was the Democrats' strong showing in legislative races. Democrats appear on the verge of winning a two-thirds majority in the state Senate and Assembly, enough to approve tax measures without Republican support.

In Los Angeles County, veteran prosecutor Jackie Lacey became the county's first female and first African American district attorney after defeating Deputy Dist. Atty. Alan Jackson. Jackson conceded early Wednesday morning.

Lacey, 55, touted herself as the only candidate with the experience to run the office. She had the support of her boss, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is retiring after three terms.

Los Angeles County voters also approved a local measure requiring adult film actors to wear condoms. With most precincts reporting, a measure to fund transportation projects by extending a countywide sales-tax increase for an additional 30 years remained just shy of the two-thirds vote required for approval.

Some races remained too close to call, including the San Diego congressional race between Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Carlsbad) and Democrat Scott Peters, a San Diego environmental attorney. In the Coachella Valley, Democratic emergency room doctor Raul Ruiz was leading Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Palm Springs) with just under two-thirds of precincts reporting early Wednesday morning.


Munger’s Proposition 38 fails, according to AP

Prop. 40, on state Senate districts, passes, per AP

Proposition 36 on three-strikes law passes, AP says

-- Phil Willon

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown addresses supporters of Proposition 30 and 32 at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento Tuesday. Source: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Voters approve Brown's tax measure, Proposition 30, AP says

FULL RESULTS: California races

California voters have approved Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure to temporarily increase the state sales tax by a quarter-cent and income taxes on the wealthy by 1% to 3%, according to the Associated Press.

Brown had warned that if voters rejected the measure, billions of dollars would be cut from public education.

The reductions were written into the budget the governor signed over the summer, scheduled to take effect if Proposition 30 failed.

FULL RESULTS: California races

During the campaign, Brown faced opposition from the left and the right.

On the left, millionaire civil rights attorney Molly Munger pushed her own tax-hike measure, Proposition 38, and criticized the governor’s plan. Her proposition was rejected by California voters.

Meanwhile, anti-tax activists and wealthy conservative donors said the state government could not be trusted with more tax money.


Munger’s Proposition 38 fails, according to AP

Prop. 40, on state Senate districts, passes, per AP

Proposition 36 on three strikes law passes, AP says

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento


Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown thanks supporters for their work on his temporary tax-hike initiative, Proposition 30, during an election night party in Sacramento. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

Jerry Brown confident of Prop. 30 victory

An ebullient Gov. Jerry Brown said he was confident California voters have passed his tax measure, Proposition 30.

“We had a lot of obstacles. We overcame them,” Brown told a cheering crowd of supporters at a downtown Sacramento victory party Tuesday night.

Speaking to reporters briefly, Brown said, “We’re ahead. All the indications are that 30’s going to win.”

He said he became convinced of the measure’s passage over the last “several days,” as Brown’s barnstorming tour around the state seemed to help build momentum for the measure.

 If he’s right, it could mean about $8 billion for the state budget this year, money that will prevent billions of dollars in cuts to public schools and universities.

Brown said he would hold a Capitol news conference Wednesday morning to discuss the election results.

--Anthony York in Sacramento

On election day, Gov. Jerry Brown goes hiking

Brown voting

When all the campaigning is over, politicians need to find a way to keep busy while they begin the long wait for election results. President Obama is sticking to his good-luck ritual, a game of basketball.

Gov. Jerry Brown, on the other hand, headed north to Colusa County for some hiking with his wife.

"The only creatures I expect to see are wild boar, rattlesnake and hopefully a few elk," the governor said after casting his ballot in Oakland.

The land has been part of his family's history for generations. Brown’s great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany, then traveled by covered wagon to California.

He settled in Colusa County and started a ranch, where Brown’s grandmother was born in 1878. Today, Brown remains a part-owner of the ranch.

A spokesman for the governor said he will return to Sacramento on Tuesday night to wait for election results.

Brown has been promoting Proposition 30, his tax-hike plan. The ballot measure would prevent billions of dollars in cuts to public schools by increasing the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and raising income taxes on the wealthy by one to three percentage points for seven years.


Number of California voters reaches record levels

Gov. Jerry Brown battling sinking poll numbers in tax-hike campaign

Gov. Jerry Brown closes Proposition 30 campaign with statewide blitz

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown thanks supporters of Proposition 30 after casting his ballot in Oakland on Tuesday. Credit: Laura A. Oda / Oakland Tribune

Gov. Jerry Brown battling sinking poll numbers in tax-hike campaign


As Californians cast their ballots around the state, Gov. Jerry Brown is hoping his last-ditch campaigning reverses a steady slide in public support for his tax-hike plan.

The governor's measure, Proposition 30, has steadily lost ground in the polls, falling below 50% support in the latest round of major surveys. However, Mark DiCamillo at the Field Poll said a close look at undecided voters provides some reasons to believe the election will break in Brown's favor.

For example, DiCamillo said undecided voters tend to view the governor more favorably and they're more concerned about the impact of budget cuts that would take effect if the taxes don't pass. Proposition 30 would increase the sales tax by a quarter cent for four years and income taxes on the wealthy by one to three percentage points for seven years.

However, the poll, which was released Nov. 1, also had some troubling signs for Brown. A slight majority of undecided voters think government can provide the same level of services even if the budget is cut by nearly $6 billion.

"There are too many people who think state government can provide us with the same level of services if they wanted to, if they just cut wasteful spending," DiCamillo said.

For its part, Brown's campaign says its expecting a win.

"I think we threaded the needle," said Dan Newman a spokesman. He said the campaign has weathered a barrage of opposition advertising and internal polls show the measure holding steady with more than 50% support.


Second poll finds Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan losing support

Field Poll shows Gov. Jerry Brown's tax plan hangs in balance

Support plunges for Prop. 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a rally in support of Proposition 30 in Los Angeles on Monday. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown closes Proposition 30 campaign with statewide blitz

Gov. Jerry Brown raced across California Monday in a last-minute bid to shore up support and stoke enthusiasm for Proposition 30, his proposal to raise taxes and head off billions of dollars in cuts to public education.

As detailed in Tuesday's Times, the five-city swing, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco, underscored the precarious position of the governor’s tax measure in the final hours of the campaign -- and its importance to his governorship.

At several stops, he vilified an Arizona-based nonprofit that gave $11 million to a committee opposed to his tax plan. Under orders from the state Supreme Court, the group revealed Monday that it has ties to groups associated with the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who have poured tens of millions of dollars into conservative causes.

“The billionaires aren’t going away. They’re getting more powerful and more involved,” Brown told supporters at a union hall in Sacramento. “They had to launder this stuff five times it was so dirty, and it still stinks.”

Brown, who campaigned on a promise to repair California’s finances, has redoubled his efforts in recent weeks to pass Proposition 30. Recent polls showed the proposal slipping below the 50% threshold, typically the death knell for tax initiatives.

The governor spent the weekend in Los Angeles, where he rallied union workers at a canvassing drive, made calls with volunteers at a phone bank and took to the pulpit at four churches. In between events, the governor embraced Twitter with gusto, encouraging his more than 1 million followers to vote and highlighting support from labor leaders, lawmakers -- even Oakland native and 90s rapper MC Hammer.

Underscoring the lengths to which the governor is going to win over voters, he dispatched his dog, Sutter, to campaign events.


Jerry Brown launches final push for Proposition 30

Disclosure by Arizona nonprofit shows ties to Koch brothers

Controversial Arizona nonprofit releases name of contributors -- more nonprofits

--Michael J. Mishak and Anthony York in Sacramento


Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown kicks off his campaign for Proposition 30, a November ballot initiative that would temporarily increase sales and income taxes, during a visit to New Technology High School in Sacramento in August. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press


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