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Business groups place conditions on backing Jerry Brown's special election

February 28, 2011 |  3:55 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown has racked up some victories in his effort to win business support for an election to extend tax hikes.

But it's worth noting how lukewarm some of the support seems to be.

Last week, for example, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce gave Brown its backing for a spending plan that includes a special election on taxes this June.

It was a big win for Brown -- his strongest business endorsement yet, and from a major player.

But the L.A. chamber leaders took care to add caveats: They said they want the taxes Brown seeks –- billions in vehicle, income and sales taxes –- extended for just three years instead of the five that Brown has proposed. And they want regulatory changes and an overhaul of the public pension system as part of the deal.

Another local group, the Valley Industry & Commerce Assn., backed Brown’s call for a special election but stopped short of actually supporting the tax hike extensions that he seeks.

Republican hardliners who oppose extending the tax hikes are "being obstructionist," said VICA President Stuart Waldman. Yet Waldman added that it was still “about 50-50” whether his organization would ultimately endorse the tax policies Brown is advocating.

Similarly, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce gave a preliminary OK to the governor’s proposal earlier this month but added a series of conditions. Those included a demand that the governor abandon his plans to eliminate redevelopment agencies and enterprise zones -- key planks in Brown's budget strategy.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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