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Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger compared California to Athens and Sparta in 2007.

Gov. Jerry Brown drew a parallel today between California and Egypt in his State of the State address.

In particular, the Democratic governor compared his quest for a June special election to extend tax hikes with the fight for democracy in Egypt and Tunisia.

GOP lawmakers have said they will not put taxes on the ballot, and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has said voting to do so would violate their no-tax pledges with his organization, Americans for Tax Reform.

"When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can't say now is the time to block a vote of the people," he told lawmakers gathered in the Assembly chambers.

"My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly, I believe it would be irresponsible to exclude the people from this process," he said later. "They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, whether it's more cuts, extend taxes, the voters deserve to be heard."


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