Capitol Alert

Fact check: Jerry Brown was asked about tax pledge last year

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a gathering of political, business and community leaders at the annual California Chamber of Commerce Host Breakfast in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 28, 2015.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a gathering of political, business and community leaders at the annual California Chamber of Commerce Host Breakfast in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, May 28, 2015. AP

Gov. Jerry Brown, asked Tuesday if he would now be willing to sign tax increases without voter approval, said that is an “open question.”

“I ran for office when this state had a $27 billion deficit, and I said I wasn’t going to raise taxes unless the people said that’s what they wanted through an initiative, and I kept my promise,” Brown told reporters at a news conference on a budget deal at the Capitol. “But when I ran the second time I didn’t say that, and you didn’t ask me.”

When a reporter suggested they could ask him now, Brown said, “Too late. I’m already elected ... It wasn’t part of the contract.”

In fact, Brown was asked about his tax pledge last fall, shortly before he was elected to a fourth term.

At the time, Brown declined to say if he would maintain the pledge he made in 2010 not to raise taxes without a public vote.

Asked about the issue at a meeting with The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board last year, Brown said he was focused on Propositions 1 and 2, the $7.5 billion water bond and a budget reserve measure that eventually passed.

“There’s a lot of issues and relevant issues, some less so, some more so,” Brown said at the time. “But I, I’m sticking to 1 and 2. And there’s a lot of things on the ballot. And there’s a lot of things in the Legislature. And there’s a lot of things that will pop up between now and November and now and January, but … I’m going to be restrained in my commentary going forward.”

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