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Nurses union pledges $1 million to Jerry Brown's tax initiative

August 2, 2012 |  5:31 pm

Nurses union pledges $1 million for Prop. 30 campaign

California’s biggest nurses union endorsed Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative Thursday and committed $1 million toward the effort.

“At a time when too many politicians respond to the budget crisis solely with budget cuts and harsh austerity measures, we congratulate Jerry Brown for the political courage to propose increased revenue,” said DeAnn McEwen, a co-president of the California Nurses Assn., at a news conference at the organization’s Oakland headquarters.

Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and taxes on incomes of more than $250,000 for seven years.

The nurses association, which combined with other unions to form the 175,000-member group in 2009, was among Brown’s major backers during his mayoral and governor’s races and spent more than $1 million against Republican Meg Whitman in 2010.

“The nurses worked hard to elect Jerry Brown; now we will work even harder to have him succeed as a governor who will fight for our state and our communities,” said Zenei Cortez, another co-president who works in San Mateo County.

The union is the latest to join a coalition of major business and labor groups that is supporting Proposition 30. Brown’s campaign has more than $6.8 million for the effort, with $5 million cash on hand at the end of June. A separate account supporting Proposition 30 has raised $9.8 million, with about $1.6 million left in the bank.

But, says the association’s executive director, it’s not all about the money. “Nurses can turn a campaign in the state of California,” RoseAnn DeMoro said.

“This is going to be a very visible campaign,” Brown added in an interview. “By November people will know exactly what the stakes are.”


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-- Christine Mai-Duc in Oakland

Photo: Gov. Jerry Brown at the headquarters of the California Nurses Assn., which pledged $1 million to Proposition 30, Brown's tax initiative on the November 2012 ballot. Credit: Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times