Day 100 in a 60-day quest for a budget dealThe California Teachers Association launched a new television ad statewide Monday urging lawmakers to balance the budget, implying they should do so with taxes and without going to the voters.
The state's largest teachers union diverged last week from Gov. Jerry Brown on whether the state should ask voters to extend higher tax rates on sales, vehicles and income. Brown promised last year he would not raise taxes without a vote and said last week it was a matter of public sovereignty.
CTA's new 30-second spot does not mention taxes, nor does it refer to the Democratic governor's proposal for a public vote. Instead, it portrays budget spending as crucial to bolstering the economy and schools and says another round of cuts would be devastating. Spokeswoman Sandra Jackson said the ad is airing across the state on broadcast and cable stations.
"It's time for lawmakers to finally get the problem solved now," the ad states. "Our kids and economy can't afford to wait."
The state still faces a $15.4 billion deficit after leaders enacted $11.2 billion in mostly health and welfare cuts and fund shifts last month.
CTA President David Sanchez said last week that Brown should avoid the ballot because it is too late to ask voters to approve the taxes, in no small part because they will see them more as tax hikes than extensions. Instead, Sanchez said lawmakers should pass the taxes in the Capitol on a two-thirds vote.
Brown called off talks last month with GOP lawmakers, and their impasse ended any hope of holding the June tax election that the governor initially proposed.
"We worked for a long time to get the Legislature to put it on the ballot," Jackson said. "Now the time has come for them to act, so we're asking the Legislature to vote out the tax extensions."
Asked whether the ad's omission of "taxes" was a recognition of public opposition, Jackson said, "We just thought the ad was powerful the way it is. ... We didn't think it was actually necessary to say 'taxes' in the commercial."
After Sanchez said it was too late for a tax ballot, Brown offered two arguments for why he is still pursuing that step. He said he believes the people should have the ultimate say in how to balance the rest of the budget, while he acknowledged that it would be difficult to get enough GOP votes to pass taxes outright.