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Budget Takeaway From The NYT Profile of Gov Brown

The New York Times has posted a long, admiring profile of California Governor Jerry Brown. The reporter seems to have had extensive access to the Governor during the height of the budget negotiation frenzy in March. You have to get almost to the end of the article to get the writer’s impression of where our budget negotiations are headed:

In our conversations over the last few months, it became clear that Brown is considering, in the event of failure, a subversive notion, a last-stand response to the Republican agenda of blocking the tax extensions and forcing spending cuts: Let it happen. “If you talk about taxes, you don’t get elected — so that’s a nonstarter now,” he told me. “You have to keep cutting to the point where people say they want to increase their contribution.”

In other words, the only way a majority of Americans might reconsider taxes is if they experience the full brunt of spending cuts, not only in California but also in Washington. “People have never experienced cutting like that before,” Brown told me. “That will create turbulence.” If raising taxes is a nonstarter in this environment, change the environment.

Is the Governor reconsidering his idea to put tax increases on a ballot for the voters? It sounds like he doesn’t think they would pass.

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