Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning that California's high tax rates have not dragged down the economy, defending his Nov. 6 ballot initiative to raise taxes in a television interview.
"I know we're a high-tax state, but that's happened under Ronald Reagan, it's happened under my father, it's happened under Schwarzenegger, it's gone a long time," the Democratic governor said on CNN's State of the Union with Candy Crowley. "Remember, California has created almost twice as many jobs at twice the rate of the country as a whole. So we're a real engine out here, in terms of Silicon Valley and Apple and Hewlett-Packard, and all the things we're doing."
California is outperforming other states in job creation, according to the state Employment Development Department, though double-digit unemployment remains higher than the national average.
Asked by Crowley if California's persistent budget deficits don't demonstrate that higher taxes hinder economic growth, Brown said, "It's just the opposite, because the economy is doing better than the rest of the nation."
He said the state has been burdened by budget deficits "because people before I got here cut our car tax by almost $6 billion, gave huge tax breaks to out of state corporations, which is another $1 billion, and they didn't cut expenditures."
Brown touted billions of dollars in spending cuts he has enacted, and said Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, "makes more sense" than further cuts.
Brown made a similar argument when asked about national job growth prospects and President Barack Obama's handling of the economy
"Well, maybe I know too much about this stuff, but we're in a recovery, a slow recovery, and it'll keep recovering with any luck," Brown said. "And if the Republicans would get out of the way and let, you know, the stimulus and the investment go forward such as the Democrats have proposed, we'll be better off."
He said the "contrast and the difference is reasonably clear" between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
"Romney almost reminds me of Thomas Dewey," Brown said. "And I was rather young, but I remember that campaign. And he symbolized the wealthy East, and then Truman was fighting more for the common man. Now I'm not trying to compare Obama with Truman, but I do think he represents and he expresses more of the ordinary American and the struggles that the ordinary American is going through."