Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown: Tax measure changes ‘very positive’

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to a meeting of water officials in Sacramento on Jan. 14, 2016.
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to a meeting of water officials in Sacramento on Jan. 14, 2016. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders

It was a scolding from Gov. Jerry Brown last week that compelled proponents of a ballot measure to extend temporary tax increases to remove a provision circumventing California’s budget reserve requirements.

The move had its intended effect. On Thursday, Brown offered praise.

“It certainly removes the fatal flaw, and I think that’s a very positive development,” the Democratic governor told reporters after addressing a group of water officials in Sacramento.

But Brown stopped short of saying if he could support the tax extension.

“I think I’ve said enough for this morning,” he said.

Earlier this week, activists proposing to extend taxes approved in 2012 re-wrote their initiative to include deposits into a reserve account approved by voters in 2014.

Brown, who championed the Proposition 30 tax measure in 2012, said repeatedly that higher taxes voters authorized that year should remain temporary.

In 2014, Brown said, “That’s a temporary tax and, to the extent that I have anything to do with it, will remain temporary.”

But his opinion appears to have softened in recent weeks, with the governor declining to take a position on the measure.

It would be major victory for tax proponents if they can secure Brown’s support or, at a minimum, neutrality on the issue. The fourth-term governor is relatively popular and holds about $24 million in his campaign war chest.

David Siders: 916-321-1215, @davidsiders

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