Governor Brown touts cuts and tax hikes in San Diego - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Governor Brown touts cuts and tax hikes in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown made the case for his proposed package of spending cuts and tax increases to a crowd of more than 200 at a luncheon in San Diego Thursday.

Brown acknowledged his proposals were unpopular as he delivered his State of the State address Wednesday but said they were necessary to close a $9.2 billion budget gap. He said it didn't make sense to spend more money than was available to the state government.

"We've got to balance our books but at the same time we have to take care of business and build for the future," Brown said. "And that's why I've said -- along with the cuts, we need some taxes."

He's asking for an income tax increase on individuals who make over $250,000 a year and a half-cent sales tax hike. He said Californians faced a higher tax burden in 2009 and 2010 compared to what he wants.

The governor, who hopes to put proposals on the November ballot, told the politically mixed audience at the San Diego Hall of Champions that if the tax increases aren't adopted, he would have to make cuts at all levels of education to balance the budget.

"Why will education suffer if we don't get the temporary tax?" Brown asked rhetorically. "Because education is the largest part of the budget."

Significant cuts already have been made to welfare, pensions and childcare, he said.

Brown's appearance came on the same day that the state Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing on his budget proposals.

He also pushed for construction to begin on the strongly criticized high-speed rail project and reforms of the state employee pension system.

The event was hosted by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, The City Club of San Diego and the Independent Voter Network.

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