Capitol Alert

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Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning that the Legislature should "man up" and make spending cuts, acknowledging the state budget deficit is likely larger than he previously thought.

The Democratic governor, in an interview on the Bay Area talk radio station KGO 810, said the deficit is "probably bigger now" than the $9.2 billion he estimated earlier this year.

"We're trying to be as prudent as we can," Brown said. "That's why the Legislature has to man up, make the cuts, and get some taxes and we'll make it."

Legislative Democrats have resisted many of Brown's proposals to reduce spending, and his demand that cuts be enacted by March fell flat.

Brown's "man up" remark was reminiscent of when Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called legislative Democrats "girlie men" in 2004, also in a budget dispute.

"Uh-oh ..." Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's former press secretary, said on Twitter, "sounds a lot like 'Girly Men.'"

In the radio interview, Brown promoted his November ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, but he backpedaled from his previous characterization of the initiative as a "Millionaires' Tax."

"I'm not calling it that," he said.

In campaign material, Brown and his allies have emphasized the effect of his proposal on millionaires, and Brown previously defended calling it a "Millionaires' Tax" because "everybody who makes $250,000 becomes a millionaire very quickly if you save."

Brown said this morning it was the California Democratic Party, not him, who characterized the tax as a "Millionaires' Tax."

"What happened was, I sent my petition out to my email list, and I put an attachment of the actual signature petition, and the Democratic Party had put some thing, some little explanatory material and put 'Millionaires' Tax,'" he said.

Brown defended the state's welfare program - "California doesn't just give money for some woman to sit home with her two or three kids," he said - as well as Indian casinos and undocumented immigrants.

"Most of them are doing a hell of a lot of work," he said, "and most of the food we eat has been picked by an undocumented."


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