|Governor projects record deficits|
"When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can't say now is the time to block a vote of the people," he said.
Governor Brown has proposed a special election in June to let voters decide whether to extend higher vehicle fees and sales and income taxes to help balance a $25 billion deficit, the largest state deficit in the nation.
|California voters demanding higher taxes|
The $12.5 billion in budget cuts would require a temporary extension of current taxes and a vote before it could become effective.
Brown told Democrats who are hesitant to make budget reductions in programs, and Republicans who are against extending taxes, that he understood where they were coming from but, "things are different this time."
He said the budget has tough choices but that the people “have a right to vote” on the package. He challenged both parties to take the difficult votes necessary to balance the budget.
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"From the time I proposed what I believe to be a balanced approach to our budget deficit -- both cuts and a temporary extension of current taxes -- dozens of groups affected by one or another of the proposed cuts have said we should cut somewhere else instead."
"Still others say we should not extend the current taxes but let them go away. So far, however, these same people have failed to offer even one alternative solution," Brown said.
While California's budget woes are critical, the state hasn't quite reached the pandemonium stage of Egypt, which has seen more than a week of rioting in protests over frustrations with the autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak.