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Perhaps Gov. Jerry Brown doesn't really trust voters
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Are you getting any warm and fuzzy feelings about supporting Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to extend $12 billion a year in "temporary" tax increases on personal income tax, sales tax, and vehicle license fees?

It is the proposition that Brown wants the California Legislature to place on the June ballot along with making $12.5 billion in cuts to eliminate yet another whopping state budget deficit.

If you're feeling that it is the right thing to do you might want to chew on this: A lot of scarce California tax dollars were spent on an anti-smoking spot during the Super Bowl.

The money was spent by the California Department of Public Health which is the target of many of Brown's cuts. So what gives?

The Super Bowl plug is part of this year's $14.5 million TV commercial campaign being coordinated by the department's Tobacco Control Media Campaign division using the 25 cents a pack cigarette tax leveled by voters in 1988. The tax was adopted for the expressed purpose of smoking-prevention programs and dealing with smoking-related diseases.

What makes this all a bit wacky - and posturing by politicians like Brown a bit disingenuous - is that at all the criticism heaped on Proposition 13 and a slew of other initiatives that have supposedly tied the hands of Sacramento to get us out of this budget mess not one elected leaders has suggested revisiting the 25-cent-per-pack tobacco tax and how it can be spent. Yet there is talk constantly about tinkering with Proposition 13.

There are some provisions of Proposition 13 that must be addressed. One essentially gives corporations a massive tax break that allows them to pay considerably less via legal maneuverings to keep part of the original ownership in place when property is repeatedly sold and transferred.

Yet no politician on either side of the aisle talks about touching anything else put in place at the ballot box from how we finance schools to what we use special tobacco taxes for when it comes to state spending.

The reason is obvious. Those are all sacred political cows but property taxpayers aren't.

Logic would seem to dictate that Brown - or someone in Sacramento - would be pushing an initiative on the June ballot to ask the voters to allow that 25 cent tax on cigarettes to fund critical state health services that are going on the chopping block.

But then again state leaders would rather spend $14.5 million a year on anti-smoking commercials on TV than use that money for basic health care for poor kids or disabled adults. It is because such undertakings as the anti-smoking campaign has built powerful constituencies and support a lot of state bureaucratic jobs.

If Brown really wants to give voters choices, he should suggest that not only the extension of current temporary tax increases be placed on the June ballot but also individual measures that would undo everything else that politicians like to blame voters for when it comes to supposedly making it impossible to govern and budget for the state.

By going only for the tax extensions, Brown is giving voters just the choice he wants them to make. Let's put everything on the table whether it will enrage liberals when it comes to anti-smoking campaigns and funding preschool education, conservatives when it comes to property taxes or educators when it comes to school funding.

If voters opt to change nothing, that should give Sacramento a loud and clear message.

But as things stand right now, Brown's proposal for the June ballot only give voters the choice to decide on only a small part of the solution.

And as such he is no higher moral ground than the Republicans who are telling him they aren't going to put the tax extension question on the ballot for voters to decide.