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Gov. Jerry Brown picked up some heavyweight support for his budget plan Monday when the California Retailers Association endorsed extension of sales, income and car taxes to close the budget's deficit.

"Governor Brown is sincerely addressing the state's long-term fiscal problems and has convinced us of the need to extend the 2009 tax increases," CRA's president, Bill Dombrowski, said in a statement. "This is part of an overall budget that addresses the mountain of debt facing the state. We support a vote to extend the tax increases and to put them on the ballot in a special election. We also plan to support passage of the extensions during the campaign."

Brown has been attempting to enlist support of business groups for his budget plan in hopes of garnering the Republican votes he needs - at least two in each legislative house - to place the extensions on the ballot.

The temporary taxes, which include a one-cent increase in the sales tax, were enacted in 2009 as budget-balancing measures. The income tax surcharge expired at the end of 2010 and the sales and car tax increases expire on June 30.

Together, they amount to roughly half of the state's budget deficit. Brown wants to extend them for five years. While he's attracted some positive comments from business leaders, they've also wanted the extensions to be accompanied by spending limit and pension reform measures.

Brown has indicated he's willing to include a spending limit but has been noncommittal on pension changes, which his supporters in public employees unions oppose. The CRA's endorsement is the first unqualified support he's received from a major business group.


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