Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

Political Notebook: Gov. Brown makes final Fresno pitch for passing Prop. 30

On the day before Election Day, Gov. Jerry Brown blitzed California one final time to drum up support for Proposition 30, which polls show could go either way.

Brown’s Fresno visit was his second in two weeks, coming at an east Fresno union office that is adjacent to one that hosted his previous visit. Today’s rally, however, was much more organized, with a stage, more speakers and several dozen supporters holding “Yes on 30” signs.

The five-city tour that included the Fresno stop comes four days after a Field Poll showed support for Brown’s ballot measure to raise taxes dropping to 48%. In mid-September, the Field Poll found support at 51%. At the same time, the latest poll found 38% of likely voters opposing the initiative — and 14% undecided.

Brown seemed to grasp that Tuesday could bring defeat — or victory — for Prop. 30.

“We’ve been in a struggle,” he said. “We’ve been attacked. We’ve been maligned.”

The governor — who was around 30 minutes late to the event — was last of a string of speakers that spoke of what they said would be doom-and-gloom if the measure failed. The focus was squarely on education.

Among the speakers were Fresno State President John Welty, who said “the future of California hangs in the balance tomorrow,” as well as Fresno Building Trades Council President Bob Jennings, who said unions depend on K-12 and community colleges to educate skilled workers who are “well grounded in math, algebra, and some basic trig.”

Prop. 30 would raise the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years and income taxes on those making more than $250,000 annually for seven years.

Opponents say the measure — which would raise about $6 billion a year and help close the state’s budget deficit — would increase taxes when the state is trying to recover from a recession and would give more money to a state government that has shown it can’t control spending.
Brown and other speakers also picked up on accusations today by the state’s political watchdog that an $11 million donation by an Arizona nonprofit to a campaign committee opposed to Prop. 30 and in favor of Prop. 32, a measure restricting union dues collection, amounted to “money laundering.”

The Fair Political Practices Commission had been seeking to have Americans for Responsible Leadership turn over information — including donors — behind the donation.

Americans for Responsible Leadership,. the FPPC said, had “sent a letter declaring itself to be the intermediary and not the true source of the contribution.”

Brown said the funds had been washed not once or twice, “but five times — and it’s still dirty.”

Earlier at the rally, state Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, said the transaction — which he said involves “outside billionaires trying to influence an election in California that affects our children’s education” — “should piss you off… yeah, I said piss you off.”

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