Governor Backs Off Pledge To Ask Voters for New Taxes

Gov. Jerry Brown apparently has liberated himself from the self-imposed pledge to ask voters to approve new state taxes.

He did so at a news conference on the 2015-16 budget deal Tuesday. The comment came after a reporter asked whether proposed new taxes to cover road and highway repairs would need to be ratified by California’s voters.

“I ran for office when this state had a $27 billion deficit, and I said I wasn’t going to raise taxes unless the people said that’s what they wanted … I kept my promise,” Brown said.

But “When I ran a second time, I didn’t say that, and you didn’t ask me,” Brown told the Capitol press corps.

“It’s too late,” he said. “I’m already elected, and it wasn’t part of the contract.” The flippant response provoked laughter from reporters.

Whether he’s right is debatable. Sacramento Bee reporter David Siders noted that the newspaper’s editorial board did ask about his tax pledge in September, during the governor’s re-election campaign — but that he ducked the question.

Much of last year’s tax discussion was over Proposition 30, which raised sales tax rates and income taxes on wealthy Californians. Brown said last year he would not push to renew the measure that expires in 2018.

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