Jerry Brown, his dog Sutter in tow, kicks off Prop. 30 campaign


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Flanked by education and labor leaders, dozens of schoolchildren and his dog, Sutter, Gov. Jerry Brown formally kicked off his campaign Wednesday for Proposition 30, the measure on the November ballot that would raise taxes on state sales and incomes of more than $250,000.

Brown used a Sacramento high school as the backdrop for the event, calling Proposition 30 a choice about whether Californians want to provide more funding for schools. In vintage Brown style, he quoted from the New Testament to make his pitch to voters, urging them to ask the state’s wealthiest residents to pay higher taxes to boost education spending.


“To those who much has been given, much will be required,” he said quoting from the Gospel of Luke, saying the state’s highest earners “now have an opportunity to give back.”

Brown was joined by his dog, Sutter, decked out in a red vest covered with Yes on 30 stickers for the event.

Under a budget signed by Brown earlier this year, public schools would face about $5 billion in cuts if the measure is rejected by voters. The state’s two public university systems would each face an additional $250-million reduction.

“Whatever they decide, I’m going to carry it out,” Brown said. “Either way, I’ll still be here, I’ll still be governor.”

Also on hand for the announcement was Joel Fox, president of the California Small Business Assn. and an opponent of the measure. He said voters should insist on other structural changes to state government, including easing of regulatory burdens on businesses and reductions in public-employee pensions, before approving more taxes.

The money to be raised by Proposition 30 -– an estimated $8 billion in the first year -– would not be earmarked specifically for schools. Under current budget formulas, about 40% of every dollar the state spends is spent on public schools and community colleges.



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--Anthony York in Sacramento