Brown adviser Steve Glazer answers: "Downsizing of state government unprecedented in their political careers."
There's talk of using arcane language in Proposition 25 to maneuver around the two-thirds requirement, but there's another reason the GOP leadership should cough up the votes to meet the established two-thirds rule -- they'll have a bigger place at the bargaining table.
In the negative column, as conservative Fox & Hounds blogger Joel Fox points out, Brown is asking voters to raise taxes without having won pension reforms or dangling a spending cap.
On the plus side, Democratic operative Roger Salazar noted, Brown's spending cuts have a lot of appeal for Democratic and Republican voters who think there's a lot of waste in state government.
"It's probably not as high as people think it is," said Salazar. But by paring his own budget and targeting cell phones, Brown has demonstrated that "if we're going to ask for cuts and additional sacrifice and an extension of the revenues, we're going to show you, it's going to be used wisely," Salazar said.
In the negative column, Brown didn't campaign on the need to raises taxes, only on the promise not to raise them without voter approval. He did not come to Sacramento armed with a mandate to raise taxes.
On the plus side, Democrats have little incentive to sabotage this plan, as happened in 2009 when the state Democratic Party refused to endorse Proposition 1A, even though the Democratic Legislature had put it on the ballot.
I've spent the week wondering: Does Brown think he's so charismatic that a majority of voters will approve what is essentially a tax increase, after 65 percent of voters said two years ago that they wouldn't?
Or is Brown relying on the fact that things are so bad that even schizophrenic California voters finally may realize that after years of electing representatives who spent more than they've taken in, they can't put off paying for the government they've chosen?