Brown had been pushing the CFT and Munger to drop their measures and get behind his plan. He argued that if there are three competing measures, voters are likelier to reject all three. Then, on Wednesday, came news of an agreement. The teachers union would drop its measure. In return, Brown would halve his proposed sales tax increase and raise tax rates on the rich. Brown Plan B would add another 1 percent for single filers earning $250,000 per year and an extra 3 percent for families making more than $1 million.
I fear that Brown Plan B would drive golden geese out of the state. Sure, most families earning $500,000 or more aren't going to move over a lousy $5,000, but moguls who make 20 times that and own multiple homes just might decide to migrate. And there go all their tax dollars.
Brown guru Steve Glazer told me, "We've tried to be very pragmatic about what can win and what can help the schools and public safety, and this was the best alternative."
Clearly, the governor's team saw this as the best deal, but I think the governor would have been better off fighting both the teachers union and Munger than opposing Munger only while pushing CFT-lite.
"I understand why he did it," noted GOP strategist Rob Stutzman, but the business community, which was trying to work with the governor, now has reason to see Brown "basically by force of politics being driven back to the arms of labor."
Make that big labor and the spend-happy Legislature.
Hoover Institution economist John F. Cogan noted that over the past 25 years, California has had liberal and conservative governors but one common trend: "Movement toward a welfare state of liberalized benefits, removing taxpayers from the rolls at the lower end (while) keeping tax rates high and ever-increasing regulation of business. We see the results. When you see these trends, what's common? It's the Legislature."