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Gov. Brown trying to sell tax increases to voters

  • FILE - In this Jan. 5, 2012 file photo Gov. Jerry Brown responds to a question while discussing the cuts he has already made to help reduce the state's budget deficit from nearly $20 billion last year to a gap of about $9.2 billion as he unveiled his proposed $92.5 billion 2012-13 state budget at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif. While most other governors are proposing tax cuts and letting temporary tax increase expire, Brown is trying make the case for boosting taxes on the wealthy and the state sales tax.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,file)

SACRAMENTO— After failing to sell Republican lawmakers on tax increases last year, Gov. Jerry Brown faces another tough act of salesmanship in 2012, this time with voters.

While most other governors are proposing tax cuts and letting temporary tax increases expire, Brown is trying to make the case for boosting taxes on the wealthy and on everyone else through a hike in the state sales tax. He is doing so at a time when California is trying to work its way out of a deep recession and the jobless rate is the nation's second highest.

While a recent public opinion poll shows some support for his tax proposal, the Democratic governor faces challenges on numerous fronts.

Republicans and anti-tax groups insist that any tax increase will produce uncertainty for individuals and businesses, imperiling California's gradual recovery and adding to its reputation as over-taxed.

The governor's fellow Democrats, who control the Legislature, already have signaled that they do not want another round of spending cuts and have been reluctant to embrace the types of regulatory and spending reforms Brown says are needed to close the deal with voters in the fall.


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