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Ad Watch: Is Jerry Brown's initiative akin to a street robbery?

Published: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 - 11:00 pm

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is airing a new radio ad attacking Gov. Jerry Brown's Nov. 6 ballot initiative to raise taxes, likening it to street robbery. Following is text of the ad and an analysis by David Siders of The Bee Capitol Bureau:

Text

Man: Hey lady, hand over your purse or the schools get it.

Woman: What?

Man: I said, hand over your purse or the schools get it.

Jon Coupal: This is Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and once again, Sacramento politicians are threatening cuts to education and public safety unless you pay more taxes.

These same politicians just gave hundreds of staffers pay raises. They approved the bullet train against the wishes of most Californians, and now, after Jerry Brown announced the closure of 70 state parks, we find out that the state parks department has been hiding $54 million. What else are they keeping from us? It's time to stop the deception politicians are using to force tax increases on the working people of California.

What we really need are reforms to education, pensions and spending. Please stand with thousands of your fellow Californians by going to HJTA.org and signing the petition to the governor and Legislature demanding reforms, not higher taxes. That's HJTA.org.

Narrator: Paid for by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Analysis

It was in the state budget – not on a street corner – that Brown made school funding the focus of his tax initiative. But Brown himself characterizes the election as a choice between higher taxes and $5.4 billion in cuts to schools and community colleges.

It is true that more than 900 legislative employees received pay raises this year, and the Brown administration last month disclosed nearly $54 million in apparently hidden parks money. Brown did propose park closures, but the administration backed off in June.

Though the amount of money involved in the pay raises and parks scandal is relatively small, the cost of California's high-speed rail project is not insignificant.

It is true that public support for high-speed rail has deteriorated since voters approved it in 2008, with a majority of voters now opposed, according to a December Field Poll.

Though the tax initiative would raise revenue for the overall state budget, not just education, Brown emphasizes its impact on schools. This is a politically advantageous argument for Brown, but it is not deceptive as the ad suggests: If his measure fails, the state budget does call for significant cuts to schools.

The ad never mentions Proposition 30 or the election. As an "issue ad," it is forbidden from doing so but is subjected to less stringent disclosure requirements.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by David Siders



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