The New York Times, in a Sunday article setting up Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget announcement today, took a walk into the past to look at a crucial tax and spending decision he made during his first time through as governor:

“… Voters passed Proposition 13, drastically slashing local property taxes and constraining lawmakers from raising any other taxes. Mr. Brown first fought the proposition but then executed it with gusto and sent billions of dollars from the state to school districts and counties to help offset the lost revenues.

That may be a decision that Mr. Brown has come to regret, as his career has come full circle and taken him back to Sacramento 33 years later to confront yet another budget crisis.

As much as Proposition 13 signaled a national revolt against taxes that reverberates to this day, its actual legacy in California — not just the proposition itself, but the way Mr. Brown and the Legislature responded to it — has emerged as a major obstacle to the new governor as he confronts what is probably the worst fiscal crisis in this state’s history.

The measure cut off a major source of revenue by capping property taxes at 1 percent of valuation and required a two-thirds vote by the Legislature to raise taxes. And because it cut property tax collections by local government by nearly two-thirds, the state, initially at Mr. Brown’s behest, took on more and more costly responsibility for financing schools, welfare and other services that were once the responsibilities of local governments.

New York Times: Tax Cuts From ’70s Confront Brown Again

Author

Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

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