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Jerry Brown calls ballot suit 'old-style politics'

July 9, 2012 |  2:14 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown dismissed Molly Munger's failed lawsuit as "frivolous" on Monday and pressed forward with his own campaign for higher taxes, which will likely receive top billing on the November ballot thanks to a legislative change made during the final days of budget negotiations.

Brown's ballot initiative, which would raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and levies on the wealthy by one to three percentage points for seven years, has been under attack from the left and the right.

Munger, an attorney and liberal activist who is pushing her own tax plan, sued to prevent Brown's from getting placed higher on the ballot than hers. A judge rejected her case on Monday, but the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. has discussed also filing suit.

"If they want to go to court, we'll fight them," Brown told reporters at an event in Oakland. "We beat down this one" -- referring to Munger's lawsuit -- "because it was totally frivolous and there was no justification."

He added, "It's old-style politics where you try to take $800-an-hour lawyers and try to bully people."

Brown defended the bill that Democrats pushed through the Legislature to give his tax plan top billing on the ballot.

"That is so important that it deserves the dignity of being ranked with other constitutional measures and bond issues," he said. "Not a mere statute, but a fundamental change in how the state operates."

The governor called the tax issue a "zero sum game," where voters have to choose between higher taxes or automatic cuts to education that could result in lopping three weeks off the school year.

"That case stands on its own," he said


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-- Chris Megerian in Oakland