A conservative taxpayers group backed by major GOP donors has launched a new radio spot targeting two Republican senators who have been involved in ongoing negotiations to put Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposal on a June ballot.
The ad, aired by the California chapter of Americans for Prosperity, urges listeners to tell GOP Sens. Tom Berryhill, of Modesto, and Anthony Cannella, of Ceres, to oppose any vote for an election on maintaining higher tax rates.
"Unemployment in California is 12% but in the Central Valley the numbers are much, much higher. The last thing we can afford are more job killing tax increase," AFP state chairman Peter Foy says in the 60-second ad.
The nonprofit group, which was founded by billionaire businessman and conservative donor David Koch, was a major force in the 2010 election. The two national branches of the organization, which are not required to disclose their donors, spent millions on ads supporting conservative candidates. A website created by Koch Industries says Koch foundations do not provide funding to the umbrella organization Americans for Prosperity.
Berryhill and Cannella were part of a group of five GOP senators involved in budget talks with Brown, who likely needs the support of two Republicans in each house to pass his plan. While Friday's release of a long list of GOP demands signaled a breakdown in negotiations, staff for several of the senators and Brown aides were seen meeting yesterday.
"As a group that stands up for taxpayers, we will do everything we can to oppose these terrible tax hikes. That includes holding accountable the legislators who may be coerced into raising taxes on their constituents. Someone has to speak for taxpayers, and Americans for Prosperity will do so," Foy said in a statement.
AFP California spokeswoman Meredith Turney said the ads began airing today in the districts of both senators. She said Berryhill and Cannella were targeted because they seemed more open to voting to put the tax extensions on the ballot.
"These are the two we felt (we) particularly needed to send the message to," she said.
Cannella spokeswoman Jessica Hsiang responded to the ads in an email message, saying "Sen. Cannella's first and foremost commitment is to his constituents, and the votes he casts as their representative in Sacramento will be reflective of their priorities: job creation and economic growth."
Listen to the spot below.