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Governor, Millionaires Tax Backers Reach Compromise

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yup, that's a gigantic sigh of relief you're hearing from Democrats like Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg: "It makes a huge difference, because this initiative was the one that polled high, that had the populist appeal and you had - and have - a committed group of folks who were intending to go forward."

To strike this deal, the governor kept the basic structure of his original tax proposal - but moved to the left.  The compromise measure would shift a greater tax burden to the wealthiest Californians - especially families making more than $600,000 a year.  The income tax increases would last seven years; a quarter-cent sales tax hike would last four years.  Joshua Pechthalt with the California Federation of Teachers says even though some unions supported the Millionaires Tax, many others did not.

Pechthalt: "We had to make an assessment about the viability of going forward when we were somewhat isolated politically - as opposed to trying to push the governor to make his measure more progressive, and then consolidate support behind it."

Republicans think this measure is even worse than Brown's original proposal.  Assemblyman Curt Hagman says voters will reject it.

Hagman: "They just do not trust us with their money anymore.  We're already the highest-taxed state. We're getting the worst results out of spending those monies.  So I think they're gonna look to us to make better sound decisions before they give us any more resources."

The governor's new coalition will face an extremely tight timeline to qualify for the November ballot.  Brown is expected to continue gathering signatures for his original proposal just in case.

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