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

    Sniffit that's a GREAT idea. Now how do we get it implemented and at the same time we implement Dennis's idea and clear out both houses of Congress who're basically all dead weight and working for the Elite of this Country.

    March 22, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. James C

    There was a great study about a year ago that found the counties that vote for Republicans who advocate tax cuts receive more tax dollars per person. Anyhow the real problem in Ca is our ridiculous 2/3rd approval for everything to fix the budget. The main part of our state's problems stem from the property bubble and the damage done to pensions from Wall Street scandals.

    March 22, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. California Conservative

    Brown is proving to everyone exactly what the tea party was stating two years ago. The tea party's acronym says it all TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY! But I'm sure the democrats will not listen, they never do.

    March 22, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Tim

    How much money would be saved if all of the politicians who were in power over the past 10 years gave back all of the money they were paid by the state, all of the campaign contributions they were given, and all of the ill-gotten gains they received by acting on their built in conflicts of interest?

    March 22, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  5. Julie C

    I too would like to see the nation vote on the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Let's let the will of the people decide on that one; not the wealthy themselves. For all you non-Californians whining about our state, grow your own food and develop your own computers. Oh, you may want to quit watching movies and TV too since those mostly come from this "lazy" wreck of a state too.

    March 22, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Latrice, CA

    I think that is actually an ingenious idea. Putting it on the ballot, forces us as citizens of California to get it together and make our choice. If you don't vote, you won't get heard, period. That is how it should be. We didn't authorize how the money was spent and now the 8th largest economy in the world is nearly bankrupt, with a at least one of our municipalities soon to follow suit. I am grateful that he isn't just going to do what he feels like; this is our money, and California pays a high personal income tax. Perhaps we don't need the rubbernecking from people like Terry Va whom I assume is either from Virginia or a Veteran. Don't judge us here until you've lived and worked here, just because we're known for Disneyland, beaches and sunshine doesn't mean we don't get our fair share of storms.

    March 22, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    @terry, va: I have to say you are completely out to lunch. You have no sense of reality, which is indicative of Fox viewers. Rep. governor, Arnold left Brown a mess. Rep. gov. Perry in Texas has built a $20 billion debt. If you look around, the republicans, like Walker in Wisconsin, Christie in NJ, and Daniels in Indiana, have given millions of tax dollars to corporations, and put the burden on workers.

    March 22, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Voters of California, I call upon you...

    ....to make the hard decisions so I won't get blamed for it.

    Love,
    Jerry

    March 22, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. MediaIsPartOfTheProblem

    I live in California and I am ready to pay more taxes to get my State in shape. It will be hard to live with less money but if I lived in another country, I wouldn't have what i have right now. So bring on the tax hikes!

    March 22, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Sarah B.

    What the heck are all of you talking about? Welfare?!? Let's cut welfare!?!? Let's take the poorest Americans and make them poorer? Why not TAX the RICH!! Why not end subsidies and tax loop holes for CORPORATIONS?!?! We could raise taxes on them and not have to worry about people crawling through our windows at night. Cut benefits for the poor, and crime will skyrocket.

    March 22, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Orlando R

    Raising taxes and making is the only way to fix the economy...many people may not like it but we have to sacrifice...brown knows wat hes doing, and in the long run it the economy will benefit

    March 22, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  12. LariSpitler

    Cut away my good man. . .I pay a fortune in taxes while you give away free services for those who refuse to work. My vote is cut it all down.

    March 22, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Sgt Schultz

    Jerry Brown is a very shrewd and smart politician. It is exactly the right message...be prepared for massive cuts in your state government services or help the budget by paying more taxes. I think California needs to do both. Massive cuts in spending and a reasonable tax increase...maybe a quarter % sales tax increase and start enforcing internet companies to collect tax such as Amazon.

    If you want cheap labor and cheap stuff to buy made in sweatshops in Commie China or other overseas plants...then don't be surprised to see huge unemployment and drops in tax revenue as these folks are no longer on a payroll tax.

    March 22, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. so cal

    Cut whatever social services you have to but STOP cutting education budgets! If you want people to get off welfare and work there needs to be some path to do so. We don't want our kids learning in class sizes in the 40s. And what will you say about the teachers who are laid off. Do they have only 3 months to get another job? HOW?? They were just cut!
    There are a lot of honest hard working people who haven't been able to find work for more than 3 months in every sector.

    March 22, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Nardfather in San Diego

    IRaise taxes and cut spending, only way to balance the budget...anything else it total crap

    March 22, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. annie s

    Funny that the critics here aren't even from California. To Terry in VA, what the Governor is doing is allowing the people to make the decision – that's the way democracies should always be run. Your idea of "growing a pair" I assume is to be like Governor Walker of Wisconsin, who attacked the middle class and unions unnecessarily and against the majority opinion of Wisconsinites. No thanks, I'd much rather have a Governor who believes in the will of the people.

    March 22, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Marko

    I think this is a great idea on key issues. Our congressmen, both state and national can't make a sound decision. The people sure are not bought off by big business and the ultra wealthy. I would bet that they would vote to raise the taxes a bit to help not cut so deep into areas like education. The repubs will never vote for a tax increase and the Dems struggle with spending cuts so they stand still. Let the people decide and then maybe we can fire some of these congressman and have less of them. They sure are not doing their jobs for the people now. There is a money saver. It would cover the costs of the special elections.

    March 22, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. Larry L

    I'm amused by Steven Bannister's concern about people who are on welfare voting. Sorry Steven, that is in fact democracy. I suggest you look up fascism. That form of government may
    suit you better – along with the entire GOP.

    March 22, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  19. James

    Brown and the rest of california's Democrat controlled legislature need to suck it up and make the hard decisions. Trying to put the onus for California's fiscal problems on the voters is an obvious attempt to avoid making the decisions where they shold be made. When the Democrats, who have controlled the legislature far too long, stop buying votes with mandatory union contracts, rediculous pensions for public employees, and more entitlements than the Federal Government, then maybe they can start to get the fisal woes under control. Why is it that the Democrats in the California Legislature (and most other states and the US Congress) can't seem to understand that you can only spend what you take in and borrowing continuously will only get you deeper in debt?????????? Thankfully, I am now an ex California resident!!!

    March 22, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. kramses86k

    I Thank God I live in a state that is led by a Governor with common sense. Giving "THE PEOPLE" the power to make the important decisions is Awesome! I'd like to extend the current tax increase, and make cuts to the California legislature budget, at least 8 %.

    March 22, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Laughing at this S-Hole of a State (CA)

    @ Steven B.

    You hit the nail on the head. The population in this State is pathetic. Because of the moron's (liberals) in this State and the worthless (those on any type of handouts), the people who work WILL be forced to pay higher taxes. This State is headed for a doomsday scenario. More and more people are fleeing this state. Guess what California....it's not your illegal or worthless....it's people like me, my wife. We make about 6x the avgerage in this state and we are looking forward to fleeing this State come next June/July. See ya Cali! I can't wait to watch you go bankrupt and the POOR running this State.

    March 22, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. David

    There is no tax problem, only a spending problem. It's not our fault that Sacramento can't keep a budget anymore. Schools have more money than they know what to do with today, so lets lay off teachers to look like they are broke. The rest of the tax revenue goes to illegals and the takeove of California by mexico.

    March 22, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  23. Lisa McNaughton

    Why is Jerry Brown the governor of California?

    March 22, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Tom california

    Ive been saying for years that the only logical way out of this budget mess is to raise taxes. Any more cut to infrastructure would be fatal to California. We have alot of forest fires and alot of earthquakes in California. We also have alot of crime partly due to immigration and poverty issues. If we continue to cut services, what are we going to do when the fire season starts, Who will protect the law abiding citizens? If our freeway overpasses arent properly maintained what will happen when the next large earthquake hits? The Northridge of 1994 was only a 6.7 it caused 20 billion in damage and 57 deaths. I will gladly pay more in taxes to provide a better,safer future to all.

    March 22, 2011 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. MAC

    My son lives in California and works as a sargent in the state prison system. He is working 80 hours a month in overtime. He pays almost 55% of his pay in federal state, and local taxes. That is too high for what in most states is a working class job. California needs to cut spending first, especially in the social welfare section. It is definitely bad when it cost $24,000 dollars a student to educate them in the L.A. school system and a private school can do it for half the cost with better results. When I was a kid in California and my dad was working moving furniture it was rediculous that he could make more money on unemployment or welfare than he did working. Oh by the way that was when Jerry was govenor.

    March 22, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
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