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Philanthropist Eli Broad endorses Brown's call to raise taxes

January 18, 2012 |  4:06 pm

Eli Broad
As he brought his State of the State message to Southern California on Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown found at least one person in the audience at Los Angeles City Hall to endorse his plan for raising taxes: billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad.

After Brown’s hourlong appearance, Broad praised the governor for his handling of the budget, saying he is “doing all the right things” and “not kicking the can down the road.”

Broad also said he plans to help Brown win passage of a ballot measure in November to raises taxes on high earners and boost the sales tax by half a cent for the next five years.

“I do support it,” said Broad, who has a history of writing checks to ballot measure campaigns. “Those of us that are wealthy like myself should pay more. There are so many human needs in education and elsewhere. And I like that fact that it’s temporary, for five years. Hopefully, by then, a lot of other things will change.”

Brown spoke for about 45 minutes and followed his address with a lively question-and-answer session with audience members. During those exchanges, Brown repeatedly insisted that the state cannot spend money it does not have.

Broad did differ from Brown on one matter. He said he still hopes the governor will be open to delaying the demise of redevelopment agencies for two months -- an idea the governor resisted during the question-and-answer session.

In Los Angeles, the redevelopment agency has allocated $52 million to build a parking garage, a plaza and other public amenities alongside a museum being developed by Broad.

L.A.’s redevelopment agency may be turned over to a three-member oversight body whose members will be appointed by Brown. Broad said he wants to see those people chosen quickly if redevelopment does indeed end Jan. 31. That’s because there are redevelopment projects that will still be under way after that date, he added.

“There will be chaos if no one’s appointed to look after them,” Broad said.


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Photo: Philanthropist Eli Broad is seen last year unveiling the architectural designs for the Broad Art Foundation's new contemporary art museum called "The Broad" on Grand Avenue in downtown L.A.

Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times