Gov. Jerry
Brown’s $12 billion tax plan will be defeated at the ballot box if he doesn’t
quickly take control over who is delivering his message. In the past few weeks,
former Assembly Speaker and current partner at Mercury Public Affairs, Fabian
Nuñez, and Assemblyman Gil Cedillo have made the media rounds promoting the
need for higher taxes, despite their recent personal controversies continuing
to weigh on people’s minds. 

In late
December and mid January, Univision on its thirty-minute statewide political
show, Voz y Voto, aired some extensive interviews with both Nuñez and Asm.
Cedillo.  They each discussed the
budgetary problems faced in California: the unemployment rates, the housing
crisis, whether business would flee the state if taxes were raised, and their
views on the current deficit. 

As Nuñez
stated that, "we need to find creative ways to get revenue from those that have
it, to balance the budget," Asm. Cedillo was out promoting the view that,
"taxes are not high here" and that the only reason California voters recently
rejected tax increases was because "the truth is the public doesn’t know

When the host
asked whether California would lose businesses to other states because of
higher taxes, he was told that California had a population to sustain the
businesses and that companies were not going to move into the desert in Arizona
or Texas.  "The weather, the schools, the
population, the infrastructure, the proximity to the ocean, is all here in
California," said Asm. Cedillo.

For Nuñez this
is an area where Democrats needed to define themselves differently from
Republicans because, without higher taxes of course, we couldn’t declare
ourselves a "modern society."

Setting aside
the controversial political commutation Nuñez’ family received, does Gov. Brown
really believe the public has forgotten the controversies of his budget
messengers?  It was Nuñez’ use of
campaign funds to support his shopping sprees, European trips, fancy
restaurants and $2,562 worth of "office expenses" at Louis Vuitton in Paris
that reveled the former speaker as dangerously out of touch with the California

problematic for Asm. Cedillo’s credibility is his recent decision to sue the
state of California to restore a pay and benefits cut he and other legislator
received in 2009.  Even with the
reduction, Asm. Cedillo still receives a $95,000 salary, a daily living expense
per diem of $142, a car subsidy, and limit-less gas card.  Yet he fights on for a greater taxpayer
subsidy of his lifestyle.

While these
Democratic leaders call for "shared sacrifice" and the need for higher taxes,
Nuñez is being driven
around in a Jaguar XJ
, while Asm. Cedillo has a staff driving him

in a taxpayer-funded Lexus LX 400H, which cost $52,000.  When you’ve catapulted to a life of luxury at
taxpayer expense, it’s no shock that you would believe the impact of even higher
taxes would be negligible.  The reality
for everyday Californians, struggling with 12.5 percent unemployment and rising
costs, is very different.

Gov. Brown
deserves credit for his recent decision to eliminate 48,000 state paid cell
phones, a proposal to reduce the state vehicle fleet, and for proposing some
difficult program cuts, yet it seems he too is beginning to play the same
political shell game he publicly denounces. 

During Gov.
Brown’s inauguration, he noted it was time to honestly assess our financial
condition and make tough choices," yet the budget he presented a few days later
was not an honest picture of our fiscal problems.  The budget is based on the assumption that
California voters will hand over five more years of tax increases to a
Democratic-controlled legislature that has some of the worst job approval
ratings in its history, and has shown a perennial unwillingness to do anything
but continue raising taxes and fees, rather than make the difficult decisions.

deserve to hear the honest truth about how bad things really are in the Golden

This proposed
tax increase will be defeated, not because Californians don’t care about their
state, but because they know a raw deal when they see one.  The climate in our state is changing.  People have a sense of how bad things are and
how a decade of overspending has brought us here.  They are ready to hear the truth, even if it
is ugly.  And, they want to be treated
like adults. What they won’t stand for is more of the same broken policies from
the same discredited people.

How can anyone
expect voters to hand over more tax money to an established elite who seem more
interested in self-enrichment than sharing in the sacrifice themselves?

Barajas is a communications consultant at Bellor Communications and
formerly worked as a spokesman for Governor Schwarzenegger 2003 and 2006
campaigns and Meg Whitman 2010.   Michael Vallante is a political
consultant and public affairs specialist at Bellor Communications and formerly
served as the Chief of Staff for the RNC convention Host Committee and as the
Chief Operating Officer at the California Republican Party