SACRAMENTO (AP) - California Gov. Jerry Brown has made austerity a hallmark of his administration, forcing state workers to turn in cellphones, selling state vehicles and cutting billions from the general fund.
The Democrat was counting on that record to help him sell his November ballot initiative to boost the state sales and income taxes temporarily to help close a multibillion-dollar budget deficit and avoid deep cuts to education.
But a summer of headlines about state spending scandals and Brown's own push for some of the nation's most expensive infrastructure projects threaten to undermine that carefully crafted message.
Critics pounced on a scandal in which state parks employees hid millions of dollars and Brown's support for high-speed rail. Proposition 30 also faces competition, including a well-financed campaign to raise income taxes for education.
The Associated Press