Capitol Alert: Jerry Brown rejects oil tax push

dsiders@sacbee.comJanuary 9, 2014 

  • BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

    Here are highlights of the state budget Gov. Jerry Brown will propose today:

    • $154.9 billion in spending from all funds

    • 5 percent welfare grant increase

    • $11 billion spent on debt reduction

    • New “rainy-day fund” plan for November ballot

    • 4.2 percent funding increase for UC, CSU; no tuition increases

Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday rejected calls for a tax on companies that extract oil in California, after billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said last month that he would ramp up a campaign for such a tax in the state Legislature.

"I don't think this is the year for new taxes," the Democratic governor told reporters at the state Capitol.

Brown, who is preparing for a likely re-election bid this year, spent much of 2012 campaigning for his ballot initiative to raise taxes, Proposition 30, and its passage is a major reason he is enjoying a budget surplus this year.

"I went up and down the state campaigning for Proposition 30," Brown told reporters after unveiling his annual budget plan. "I said it was temporary. It is going to be temporary. And I just think we want to do everything we can to live within our means before going back again and trying to get more taxes."

Previous efforts to enact an oil severance tax have failed in the Legislature. Steyer, a former hedge fund manager and major Democratic donor, has said prospects may be improving in the heavily Democratic Senate and Assembly.

Steyer has declined to say whether he will seek an initiative to qualify for the ballot if efforts at the Capitol fail.

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