Gov. Jerry Brown tells California voters to 'make the hard choice'
March 22nd, 2011
03:52 PM ET
4 years ago

Gov. Jerry Brown tells California voters to 'make the hard choice'

(CNN) Democratic California Governor Jerry Brown is calling for a special election on July 7th, where voters will decide between tax extensions or to double up on cuts in state services, in an effort to combat budget woes plaguing the state.

Brown highlights California's budget quandary in a YouTube video, where he places responsibility in the hands of California voters.

"In order to really put our books in balance we need to make drastic cuts" Brown said, adding that, "I don't want to do that, and I don't think it should be done to you without your voice," Brown said. "This is a matter that's too big, too irreversible to leave just to those who we've elected. This is a time when the people themselves can gather together in a special election and make the hard choice."

The state's budget gap of about $26.5 billion has haunted the nearly three months Brown has held his post as California's governor.

Part of Brown's solution to fill the budget gap is a five-year extension of tax increases on personal income, vehicle, and sales - a measure that was enacted two years ago.

"There has been a tendency to avoid reality and you can't do that forever," Brown said, adding that doubling cuts in state services would make some "drastic alterations in the very fabric of our public service."

Almost half of the gap thus far has been covered by extensive budget cuts that impact universities, the state's health care program, and welfare recipients.

Results of a Field Poll released last week show that a majority of Californians favor a special election to resolve the tax question.


Filed under: California • Jerry Brown
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. terry, va

    Where is your leadership and spine Moon beam? It is your job to run the state's finances. Grow a pair or resign; plain and simple.

    March 22, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. S. In California - Obama 2012

    First of all thank God I live in a state which treats me as the adult I am. No dictatorship (WI, OH, FL, NJ). Having said that please Governor CUT WELFARE BENEFITS. I am so sick and tired of supporting welfare queens/kings, I could scream. Make it quite clear to these lazy people THEY HAVE THREE MONTHS TO FIND A JOB AND THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS! That would save the state millions perhaps billions of dollars alone. That would be my answer to most of California's problems. Make people go to work. Next, stop supporting the illegals. In order to get this state where it needs to be YOU will have to get rid of the dead weight. If they don't like it – so be it. Alaska gives free checks move there.

    March 22, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. terry, va

    Tax and spend dumbocraps. That is all they know and will ever know. How sad.

    March 22, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. The unsub

    raise taxes and cuts...the only answer.

    March 22, 2011 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. Dennis

    As a Californian I would like to see two ballot measures, one extending the taxes Governor Brown talks about and one firing the entire State legislature (both parties, both houses). Maybe this State could get back to being functional again.

    March 22, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. A Real American

    S. In California – Obama 2012, You're an idiot. look up the Welfare Reform Act of 1997, and read it. Do you still, honestly buy that "welfare queen" meme that was thought up by Ronny Rayguns so that he could start his war on the middle class? People on welfare work harder than you do, "moran".

    March 22, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Hahaha...we should do this as a national referendum. Let's see how the rich and corporations fare then. And hey, i won't have to be balmed on one party or the other no matter what the fallout from it: it'll be a nationwide vote...our choice...our beds to make one way or the other.

    PUT THE BUSH TAX CUTS ON A BALLOT AND GET IT OVER WITH.

    March 22, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Floyd

    Terry, Yes, that is how balancing the budget works, tax and spend... unlike the republican alternative of cut taxes and spend and cry about the budget not being balanced.

    March 22, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    This sounds like a reasonable idea. Leave it in the hands of the people.

    March 22, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. terry, va

    @ s in Cal....great, I agree that 3 months to find a job is enough. Obummie has granted 3 years of unemployment. Talk about waste. If you can't find a job in 3-6 months you are too sorry to breathe. Let's eliminate all the deadbeats. Work or starve. Wait there are programs for that too; so no one should starve.

    March 22, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Steven Bannister

    I admire Jerry Brown for giving voters the choice. But there's a problem with that....

    In all parts of the country – but especially California – we have a HUGE population of people who are dependent on welfare and other social services. Some of them DO legitimately need it – but there are MILLIONS who do NOT. These people simply take advantage of social services because they CAN. Free housing, food stamps, and welfare is a WAY OF LIFE. Need more money? Put 3 of your 4 kids on Social Security Disability!

    Out of self interest, these people WILL vote for tax increases. They simply don't care if other people need to work – just keep the freebies coming. So the question becomes: What happens when 51% of the people- who don't work- decide to take away money from the other 49% who DO work? That's not democracy – that's two wolves and a sheep voting what to have for breakfast.

    March 22, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    This is good. Let the people see the proposal so it's obvious exactly what services they are getting for their tax dollars. Police, fire fighters, education, health care, etc are all important.
    I'm willing to pay a bit more for the services we get. Education in particular is being attacked by those on the right. It's an attack on the lower and middle classes. The only way the US can compete with China and India is to work smarter and cutting education is the exact opposite of making our citizens smarter. Education is the key to the American dream!

    March 22, 2011 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Lenmsith

    It all seems to be the way to go. Some cuts are necessary, but don't eat your seed corn by cutting education and improving the infrastruction of California. It is a great state with great people who will do the right thing. I do feel that prop 13 was the downfall of California and needs to be amended somehow to allow the state to work.

    March 22, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Terry, VA: Its called getting a consensus and moving forward. No demonizing of one part of the population or another, just a assumption of responsibility by everyone based on a popular vote. Of course, cutting taxes, borrowing from the Chinese and spending more money has worked so well for the GOP in creating a plutocracy with most of the wealth concentrated in the top 1%. These are the people you worship, like the Golden Calf.

    Once again, its called getting consensus, not lying and forcing things thru, a la WI. You would have loved the Soviet Union. BTW, did you know the Koch Brothers' daddy got his millions by lending his expertise to the Soviets?

    March 22, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Carmelle

    Sniffit....I think I love you.

    March 22, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Dave

    We Californians already voted on this issue 2 years ago: NO EXTENSION OF THE "TEMPORARY" TAXES!!! There is absolutely no reason to spend the millions of tax dollars required for a special election to get the same result. Instead, use those millions to pay down the state's debt.

    March 22, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. A Real American

    Do any of you actually know or hang out with people on welfare and know what their lives are like, or are you just parroting your Fox News talking points?

    March 22, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. terry, va

    @ Steve Bannister....If I could kiss you I would. But since I'm not from San Fran and my current doesn't run both ways I won't. When is the rest of the country going to pick up on what you just said !!!!! America needs to get back to working for a living instead of holding their hand out for a living.

    March 22, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. BlackPanthers2020

    I don't live in Cali , but Mr. Brown is on to something , too bad selfish republicans won't go along with-it , . If your not in the upper income bracket , it's the republicans goal to make all of us suffer economically while they sit back and fill their coffers and bank accounts with our monies......................

    March 22, 2011 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When you're not on the Koch Brothers payroll like Republican Gov. Walker of Wisconsin, Governors like Brown work for the people.

    March 22, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. Scott

    @Steven Bannister:

    You want to back up this claim that there is "a HUGE population of people who are dependent on welfare..." ? Otherwise, you're just babbling nonsense you hear on FOX.

    March 22, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Wes B.

    I think that people that talk about "welfare kings/queens" are clearly delusional–or at least grossly mislead. Although I'm sure there are a handful of people that cheat the system, I know for a fact that nearly all people on welfare are NOT living a very good life. If you depend on welfare, you have very little money, and it's very hard to make ends meet.

    Also, there are a lot of VERY HIGHLY skilled people with great resumes and fabulous skills and work experience that are not able to find work in this economy. Those that put down and call people names for not finding a job in a time frame of three months should be ashamed of themselves. God forbid they find themselves without a job because of this economy. I am certain their tune would change very quickly if they lost their job.

    It's easy for these people to say these things from behind their computers. But real life is different. People are struggling. The country needs to pull together during difficult times–not divide. But if people have this attitude of looking down on their fellow citizen, then it's going to be nearly impossible to get through this challenging time in our country.

    March 22, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Bob in PA

    LOL – what a ballot issue. However, anyone not currently paying taxes should be bared from voting.

    March 22, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. Henry Chang

    Why is it that we didn't get a chance to vote on how to spend and save when the state was raking in the money? Now that it has been squandered and the state is a mess, you want the people to take responsibility for the fix? This is insane. They should all be fired. We were all too busy working while you were spending. You made the mess, you fix it. If we don't like it, we will move. Oh, sorry, already did that. Hopefully my rental there will pay off. Not counting on it tho.

    March 22, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    He is staying tru to his word, he will ask the people...

    ...then people will chose the tax cuts and then complain about services bing cut...

    March 22, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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