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Gov. Jerry Brown speaks Saturday at the state Democratic Party convention.
AP photo/Gregory Bull

SAN DIEGO - While supporters of a competing "millionaire's tax" waved banners outside, Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged today having a "few issues" with his own bid to raise taxes.

But in a speech to California Democrats at their annual convention, Brown said almost nothing more about an issue central to his agenda and to a growing rift between Democrats in this election year.

"Look, we've got some issues. We've got a tax measure, we have a little, few issues there, and we'll be talking about that from time to time," he said. "You'll get your marching orders soon enough."

Backstage, Brown told reporters, "I think you guys have to take each speech one at a time ... We have a good plan. We've laid it out, and now we have our work to do, and we're going to do it."

Delegates at the San Diego Convention Center waved signs that read, "We're with Jerry," when he took the podium, and The Call's "Let the Day Begin," his old campaign song, played.

Brown believes the presence of multiple tax initiatives on the November ballot could hurt the chances of any of them passing. But the Democratic governor has been unable so far to bring Democrats together around his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.

The California Federation of Teachers and California Nurses Association are trying to qualify an initiative to raise income taxes on Californians earning more than $1 million, and Molly Munger is proposing an initiative to raise income taxes on all but the poorest Californians.

Supporters of the millionaire's tax already are gathering signatures. Their initiative was on top of a stack of measures on a clipboard outside the convention hall. Several pages back was Brown's.

Political conventions can inspire heightened partisanship in politicians' rhetoric, but Brown this morning was relatively staid. An exception was his praise for the California Dream Act, legislation Brown signed last year allowing undocumented immigrant college students access to public financial aid.

In a shot at conservative radio hosts, Brown said, "Nobody's listening, guys. The Dream Act is here, and your dreams are nightmares."


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