Jerry Brown Lists His Desires To San Diegans
Brown wants to raise $7 billion in additional taxes for a handful of years by raising the sales tax by half of a cent and the income tax by as much as 2 percent for people making more than $250,000.
The proposal would come before voters on the November presidential election ballot if Brown and his team can gather more than 800,000 supportive signatures by mid-June. If the ballot measure never materializes or doesn't pass, public schools would lose a couple weeks worth of funding.
"I need that balance," Brown told a crowd of about 100 people at the San Diego Hall of Champions, referring to his belief that cuts alone won't get California out a budget deficit.
Among those in attendance was Irwin Jacobs, the founder of San Diego-based Qualcomm. Jacobs donated $10,000 to Brown's election campaign in 2010 with Qualcomm pitching in another $10,000. Jacobs also donated $25,000 to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's ballot measure campaign when the governator was seeking tax increases nearly twice that of what Brown wants now in 2008.
Brown referred several times to a Schwarzenneggar-led cut car tax that's left California with a $7 billion hole annually since then.
"Somehow you got to make that up," Brown said. "You make the rest of that up by building for the future. You can't hold everything in. You got to take some risks. You got to have some imagination."
Ruben Barrales, the president and chief executive of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said San Diego businesses would be more likely to back Brown on his tax plan and the high-speed rail line if he can successfully make changes to public pensions and the state's water system.
Brown said cities and counties would eventually have a new way to foster economic development. But he suggested that he would defer to legislators to figure out how to replace the system of redevelopment agencies that will shut down in the coming months. The agencies had been able to borrow against the prospect of future property tax revenues to subsidize the construction of everything from condos to malls.
The San Diego Chargers had planned to heavily rely on redevelopment funding to help fund a portion of a new stadium in Downtown.
Barrales said local leaders had yet to come up with a definitive plan of what they want economic development funding to look like in the post-redevelopment era.
He said that several business leaders have said they want to maintain an external agency such as the Centre City Development Corporation rather than fold functions such as permitting and planning of major development projects into the city's bureaucracy.
Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and State Senator Christine Kehoe, both of San Diego, have met with business leaders in recent weeks. Neither was ready to make public their desires on Thursday.
Brown joked that while learning about zen meditation in Japan, monks would chant every night, "Desires are endless. I vow to cut them down."
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