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Brown takes his tax pitch to 'CBS This Morning'

May 18, 2012 |  4:53 am

 Feisty at 4 a.m., Gov. Jerry Brown took to early morning national television Friday to make his case for a November ballot initiative that would raise taxes to help close the state’s $16-billion budget gap.

Win or lose, “we’re going to start living within our means,” Brown said in an interview on “CBS This Morning”  with Charlie Rose. Saying that voters will face a choice of either increasing taxes or facing  “some pretty drastic cuts” in state spending, he quoted a Latin phrase that translates roughly as “you can’t spend what you don’t have.”

But Brown was also at pains to rebut the idea that California’s decade-long budget crisis puts the state in the same category as Greece -– a nation facing economic collapse. “We’re not some tired country in Europe,” he said, stressing California’s role as America’s center of high-technology innovation.

The state continues to grow and needs to “plant the seeds for future growth,” he said, defending his proposal for an expensive high-speed rail line between the Bay Area and Southern California. High-speed rail would be cheaper than paying for new airports and freeways to accommodate future growth, he said.

Despite the early morning hour -– 4:11 a.m. in Sacramento -– the interview displayed Brown’s characteristic combativeness. Asked by Rose how much of his future he was betting on the November tax vote, the 74-year-old governor shot back: “I don’t have much of a future. I have more of a past.”


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--David Lauter