California Gov. Seeks Public Vote On Tax Increases
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
John Myers reports from our member station KQED.
JOHN MYERS: A few hours after budget talks broke down at the state capitol in Sacramento, Jerry Brown posted a video on YouTube reminding everyone why his proposal to tackle a $26 billion deficit was the right one.
JERRY BROWN: It's a balanced plan and has the support of business, of labor, of environmentalists, of farm groups. I mean an amazing coalition that spans the spectrum.
MYERS: But the few Republicans who considered signing off on a tax ballot measure wanted more - long-term changes in public employee pensions, fewer business regulations, and a temporary cap on state spending.
BILL EMERSON: The governor and his stakeholders were unwilling to go there.
MYERS: Republican Bill Emerson is a state senator from Riverside County, east of Los Angeles. He said it all fell apart over the idea of a spending cap, one that would stay in place and limit new expenses until billions of dollars in existing debt was paid off.
EMERSON: Our problem is a structural problem that keeps going on and on and on, and we need to make that correction and get that taken care of.
MYERS: Democrat Darrell Steinberg is the president pro tem of the California state senate.
DARRELL STEINBERG: The only thing missing from this list is a pony, and we'd give them a pony if they gave the people the opportunity to cast a vote.
MYERS: Governor Brown has insisted he will not use the many budget-balancing gimmicks of years past. He says that means without taxes, California's deficit will be erased solely with cuts.
BROWN: All cuts is going to be an irreversible path forward that will leave a lot of tears in its wake.
MYERS: For NPR News, I'm John Myers, in Sacramento.
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