Tax Increases Back on California’s Agenda

Inheriting a budget deficit when he took office in 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown tried for months – and failed – to reach agreement with Republicans to put a tax measure on the ballot. He finally bypassed the Legislature and went directly to voters himself.

At the time, Brown said he “learned that the Republicans can’t vote for a tax.”

Four years later, Brown and Democratic lawmakers are placing taxes back on the agenda, seeking billions of dollars in new revenue to repair California’s dilapidated roadways and to fund the state’s expanding health care obligations.

Brown, who called special sessions of the Legislature last month to focus attention on the issues, wants at least $1.3 billion annually to help fund Medi-Cal and home-care services. The administration estimates the annual funding shortfall for road repairs is even higher, at about $5.7 billion.

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