OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 02: California Governor-elect Jerry Brown speaks to supporters as he celebrates his win during an election night party at Fox Theatre on November 2, 2010 in Oakland, California. Jerry Brown defeated republican challenger and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown's frustration is growing.
The legislature's refusal last week to approve his tax-and-jobs package prompted him to lash out.
He told the California Nurses' Association on Wednesday that Republican lawmakers are controlled by the Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
That's why, the governor said, they blocked his plan.
Jarvis Taxpayers president Jon Coupal tells Prop Zero he's surprised by the governor's remarks, saying they vastly overstate his group's influence over GOP members.
"We represent where mainstream Californians are on fiscal issues. In no way do we control the legislature," Coupal said.
Coupal did meet directly with Brown last week, where he told the governor that he was "open to systemic tax reform."
But Coupal said there wasn't time to vet the plan and to determine what tax relief it contained for individual homeowners.
The governor's plan would have required out-of-state corporations to pay higher taxes.
That would've paid for an estimated $1 billion in tax breaks for in-state employers and individual taxpayers. That's significant tax relief, no matter how you slice it.
The plan, the governor said, was revenue-neutral. No overall increase in taxes.
Brown was able to convince enough Republicans in the Assembly to pass the plan there. But he ran into a stone wall in the Senate.
Republican members wouldn't vote for it, and even some Democrats declined to cast a vote, dooming the measure.
Coupal isn't talking like he wants to escalate this feud, saying there's room for more discussion.
"I do think Jerry's more engaged than our former governor. I think he's motivated by what he believes is right." Coupal said.
He wants to see tax relief spread, not just in the business community, but to individuals..perhaps by boosting the homeowner's tax exemption.
But without prospects for Republican support, Brown is likely to conclude his best shot at tax reform lies at the ballot box next year, not with the legislature.