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Thu Mar 1, 2012, 11:49 PM

Brown steps up efforts to squelch competing tax hike proposals



The visit to the home of Joshua Pechthalt, a former social studies instructor who leads a little-known teachers union, was part of a quiet campaign to neutralize an unexpected threat to Brown's agenda: outside activists who are as eager as the governor to raise taxes.


Brown politely rebuffed Pechthalt's counter-request that the governor modify his own measure. It would combine a temporary increase in income taxes on high earners with a half-cent rise in the sales tax.

"It was a very cordial, respectful meeting," Pechthalt said in an interview. "But we want a revenue measure and, at this point, we believe ours is the one with the best chance of winning."


A Brown aide acknowledged that the administration underestimated the determination of Pechthalt's union, the California Federation of Teachers, which has long existed in the shadow of the powerful California Teachers Assn. The CTA has endorsed Brown's proposal.

Pechthalt agreed with the aide's assessment, regretting that he had not had the governor's ear sooner. "We could have been in a very different place," he said, if the governor had "taken us more seriously."

The name of CFT's proposed initiative is called the Millionaire's Tax. As of last week it was polling at 63%, as opposed to 58% for the Brown proposal. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/24/MNHI1NBHLN.DTL&tsp=1 I'm not sure why the article refers to CFT as "little known", since it is the state branch of AFT...

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