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Jerry Brown talks taxes, pensions at L.A. Chamber of Commerce

January 26, 2012 |  8:12 pm

BrowncutGov. Jerry Brown on Thursday urged 1,500 Los Angeles political and business leaders to back his proposal for higher taxes and implored them to pressure lawmakers in Sacramento to overhaul the state's pension system this year.

"This is a call to action" Brown told the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. "We can't sit around and wait."

Just like his recent trips to Irvine and San Diego, Brown's Chamber of Commerce visit was aimed at building business support for his initiative to raise levies on sales and upper incomes for the next five years.

Last week's swing included visits to the Orange County Business Council and San Diego City Club, where Brown also implored business leaders to get behind his initiative. As he reaches out, the governor is tailoring his sales pitch with business-friendly talking points, including a reprise of his call to overhaul the state’s pension system.

Brown is currently gathering signatures to place his tax proposal on the ballot. But he opted not to seek an initiative to change public retirement system this year, choosing instead to let the Democratically controlled Legislature take the lead.

Democrats have been skeptical of some key pieces of Brown’s proposal, including his call to raise the retirement age for new public employees and creating a new pension system that mixes 401 (k)-style plans with the state’s existing defined-benefit plan. 

As he shifts into campaign mode for his tax initiative, the governor is increasing his public profile. Thursday’s speech marked Brown’s second Southland swing in the last week. Earlier in the day, Brown gave an interview to KPCC radio; and a talk with NBC's Tom Brokaw, recorded earlier this week, also aired Thursday.

Related Links:

Jerry Brown risks backlash on pension plan
Brown pushes tax measure in GOP strongholds
Jerry Brown defends plan to reduce pension costs

--Rosanna Xia in Los Angeles and Anthony York in Sacramento

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown. Credit: Rich Pendroncelli/Associated Press