Listening to Jerry Brown quote the California Constitution in his State of the State speech — "All political power is inherent in the people" — gave me a bizarre case of déjà vu. Howard Jarvis, Brown’s nemesis three decades ago, used to cite that same phrase from the constitution all the time.

However, the goals of Brown and Jarvis are at cross-purposes.

Jarvis wanted to encourage a vote of the people through the initiative process to cut taxes. Brown wants the people to vote to raise, or extend taxes.

Perhaps that is the beauty of this constitutional provision — it is a general rule that applies to different points of view.

Republican response to Brown’s State of the State speech criticized what Brown did not say. Some Republicans said Brown should have offered up thoughts on pension reform. Others were looking for reductions in regulations, or an emphasis on job creation.

The points they were making have merit. Why authorize a vote on taxes unless other reforms are put in place?

Let’s consider for a moment that voters approve Brown’s proposal for a five-year tax extension. What happens after five years when the taxes disappear? If the business climate has not improved, if long-term pension obligations have not been modified, if spending has not been limited, then California will be in a deep hole and we will have this argument over extending taxes all over again.

If, as Brown says, the voters have a right to vote on tax extensions, do not they also have a right to vote on spending limits and pension reforms to secure a fiscally sound future? Isn’t that the governor’s goal – to fix the financial mess for the long term?

One more thought on the voters desire to see Brown’s proposal on the ballot as expressed by the recent Public Policy Institute poll: Is it possible that voters responding to the poll by a 2 to 1 margin that they approved of Jerry Brown’s plan to put the taxes on the ballot is because they wanted to have a chance to vote against those taxes?

Remember the poll results: Income tax: 60% oppose, Sales Tax: 69% oppose, Vehicle fee: 66% oppose. Just asking.