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Brown Pleads For Votes For Struggling Tax Hike

If approved, the tax boost could be one of many for residents around the state. In Los Angeles, for example, one proposal would slap taxpayers with an additional half-cent sales tax, lifting the rate to 9.25 percent, as City Hall wrestles with soaring pension and retiree health care costs.

Brown has been pitching the plan as a way to guarantee funding for schools.

"It's either money into the schools, or money out," he said Wednesday in arguing for support of the proposition.

However, while some of the money raised would go toward education, it also would free up billions of dollars for the state's general fund, meaning the Democratic-controlled Legislature could spend it on health care, pensions or other programs.

At different points Wednesday, he suggested that passage of the tax increase could free up other funds for mental illness programs or state courts. "It would be much better if 30 passes," he said, referring to courtroom budgets.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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