Governor Jerry Brown promised to present any tax increases
to the voters. Now members and allies of his party along with some columnists are
pressuring him to renege on that pledge and attempt to pass taxes by
legislative action. I don’t think Brown will budge.

Despite headlines that seem to indicate voters would pass a
tax increase that the governor advocates, that is no sure thing and the public
unions and Democrats know it. The recent USC Dornsife/LA Times poll had the
governor’s plan passing by a small majority. Yet, on a call with reporters, the
pollsters and poll sponsors all admitted after looking at all the data that
passing the taxes would not be easy.

Yet, in the poll, voters clearly said they want an
opportunity to vote on taxes.

Brown will not want to go against those wishes, especially
since he is aware that highly visible promises that are compromised can
undercut a politician’s credibility.

Brown wants to accomplish something in his four years, not
be stymied after one year in office and reduced in stature thereafter by
turning his back on his promise. And, there is every reason to believe the
governor plans to seek a second term.

That is not to say that Brown could agree to a package being
discussed that would extend the current taxes a few months as long as they did
get a vote of the people in an autumn special election.  Under that scenario, the people would have
their say at the ballot box.

Jerry Brown remembers what happened when President George H.
W. Bush reneged on his most well-known promise: "Read my lips, no new taxes!"

Bush buckled and did raise taxes. And he was defeated for
re-election. Sure, there were other factors to Bush’s defeat. Third party candidate
Ross Perot took votes that might normally have gone to Bush. The economy was in
the tank and Bill Clinton kept his eye on the ball (Remember his campaign’s slogan:
It’s the economy, stupid.)

But, voters clearly remembered Bush’s broken promise and
many held it against him. Bush lost support in his base.

Brown may not have to worry as much about his base as the
growing number of independent voters who sway California’s elections. They will
watch carefully to see if Brown keeps his most visible promise.

Jerry Brown knows this and will stay true to his word.