California gambling tribes have given $275,000 toward Gov. Jerry Brown's new 2012 ballot initiative to raise taxes on sales and the wealthy, the first known major contribution to his effort.
The California Tribal Business Alliance and two of its member tribes have written checks to help Brown's cause, said the group's political director, David Quintana. The Alliance gave $75,000, while the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians and Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians each gave $100,000.
Brown's initiative would raise the sales tax by a half-cent and increase income taxes starting at $250,000 for individuals to raise an estimated $7 billion in the first fiscal year. Both would expire at the end of 2016.
"We wholeheartedly support this governor's vision for California," Quintana said. "We want to make sure the governor's vision can get before the voters so they can make a choice. We run the gamut of businesses, and if we don't have a healthy economy our businesses are going to suffer."
The California Tribal Business Alliance was active this year in opposing a bill backed by cardrooms and other gambling tribes to legalize Internet poker. Asked about the group's legislative interests as motivation, Quintana said, "No, what this is about is the state of California. We stand firmly behind his vision."
The contributions mark the first known major financial support to Brown's initiative campaign, though it has become difficult to track donations since the secretary of state's campaign finance website, Cal-Access, failed earlier this month.
The governor must collect 807,615 valid signatures of registered voters, an effort that could cost $3 million or more, depending on how many groups are circulating petitions at the same time.