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Legislative Democrats Line Up Behind Brown's Tax Measure

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, January 9, 2012
When it comes to picking a statewide tax measure to support on the November 2012 ballot, California Governor Jerry Brown's initiative is not necessarily the first choice of some Democrats in the California legislature.  But they nonetheless appear to be falling in line behind their leader.

We've spoken with a half-dozen rank-and-file Democrats since lawmakers returned to the Capitol for the new year.  And the general theme when it comes to picking a November tax measure is this:

Lieu: "I support the governor's tax proposal."
Feuer: "I support the governor's approach."
Huffman: "I think the governor is our leader on this."
Allen: "I favor the governor's plan."

That's Senator Ted Lieu, followed by Assemblymembers Mike Feuer, Jared Huffman and Mike Allen.  They all say Brown's measure that would raise the income tax on the wealthiest and the sales tax on everyone is the best option out there.  In fact, says Lieu:

Lieu: "I think the caucus is fairly solidly behind the governor's proposal."

Maybe so - but not all legislative Democrats are thrilled about it.  Some prefer a measure that skips the sales tax and raises the income tax on the rich even more.  It's dubbed the "Millionaires Tax" by supporters, and it's backed by a coalition of progressive groups.  Senator Leland Yee says that's his first choice…

Yee: "…because it does not have the regressiveness of the sales tax in the governor's proposal.  But at the end of the day, if I have to bite the bullet a little, I'm gonna do that and support the governor's proposal."

Same goes for Senator Mark DeSaulnier:

DeSaulnier: "You know, we've got to come together.  As Bismarck said, politics is the art of compromise and this is an example of it."

So even though he doesn't really like the sales tax in Brown's initiative either …

"I will follow the governor."

Brown is trying to convince the backers of rival tax measures to clear the ballot so his initiative has a better shot of passing.  Most Democrats inside the Capitol hope the governor succeeds.

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