Finding Fault Lines: Jerry Brown Gives Up on Special Election To Raise Taxes

Gov. Brown's effort to put a measure on the ballot to raise taxes ended with a whimper the other day, but not before he placed blame for California's fiscal problems where it belongs: on the backs of the tiny Republican minority in the legislature. That's the great thing about being a liberal. Nothing's ever your fault.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said he has abandoned talks with Republicans on closing California's $26.6 billion deficit, a move that effectively ends what has been the governor's primary goal since he took office in January: a bipartisan plan that would include a vote of the people.

After weeks of intense negotiations, Brown released a statement saying that Republicans' demands would make the deficit worse and that he would now focus "on speaking directly to Californians and coming up with honest and real solutions to our budget crisis."

He did not indicate what he plans to do, but a Democratic leader said there would not be a special election in June to allow voters to decide whether to extend and increase taxes to eliminate about half of the deficit. Lawmakers and the governor already have enacted about $11.2 billion in spending cuts and funding shifts.

"Each and every Republican legislator I've spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever-changing list of collateral demands," Brown said.

Brown's going to be riding that "Republicans don't believe in the right to vote" line until Judgement Day. Hey, that's how we roll, Jer. Who ever said there was a right to special elections? Isn't November enough? Anyway, I'm not sure the Democrats' preferred strategy of having serial elections and recounts until they get the "correct" result is any better.

Really, Brown should be thanking Republicans. There's no way he would have gotten the result he wanted out of this vote. We voted on something similar a couple years ago and the "debt & taxes" side lost handily. Now, Brown can use all of that intellect and experience we heard so much about during the campaign last year to come up with a plan to "save" California. Since he's made it clear he won't touch public pensions, public employee payrolls, overlapping state agencies, or crushing (not to mention dumb) "Green" regulations, he'll have his work cut out for him.

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