Jerry Brown sits down with ABC7

March 5, 2010 7:07:47 PM PST
California Attorney General Jerry Brown wants to be governor, again. At the age of 71, he says he can use his experience to bring Democrats and Republicans together. Friday, Brown sat down with ABC7 for a one-on-one interview.

As he filed his candidacy papers in Oakland Friday afternoon, Brown told reporters he is uniquely qualified.

"This process of government, of democracy, is completely and profoundly different than running a business," he said.

That comment could be taken as a swipe at Republican challengers Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner, who have spent their careers in business.

"The skill and the task of the next governor is to pull people together and through my experience I think I can do that better than anyone else," Brown said.

But how would it be different? Brown says he will be more inclusive in crafting the state's budget.

"Invite the legislature right after the election, start discussing it knowing we're not going to resolve it for many months," he said. "But I want the people of the state to know what we're doing; I want every Republican and Democrat to own every key item in the budget and tell me what they would do."

To deal with the state's deficit, Brown rejects the Republican proposals for a hiring freeze.

"You see the kids marching around, I don't think they want more teachers laid off," he said. "And that's what when you're talking about, state government, you're ultimately talking about the state colleges, you're talking about San Francisco State."

To balance the state's budget, Brown would borrow money and limit spending.

"I'm going to tell people the truth, and the truth is we're going to have a deficit for more than one year; if we hold the line on spending the economy will come back," he said.

Brown says restructuring the state's tax base to rely less on income taxes makes a lot of sense.

"You have spread out spread out the base, lower the rates, that what every economist says, now how you get there, I'm not prepared to say that today," he said.

Brown knows talking specifics right now can hurt him, so when asked whether he favors the governor's $11 billion water bond, he opted not to say.

"I think there are a lot of good elements to it; to tell you the truth, I have not studied it enough to give you a decision," he said. "I'll do that before the election."

His Republican opponents are calling Brown a flip flopper.

"Well, you know we had a president who was so stubborn that we got ourselves into a lot of trouble and we have a deficit that is almost uncontrollable, I believe adaptation makes sense," he said.

He was California's youngest governor and he wants to be California's oldest. And after a lifetime sparring in the political ring, he knows how to bob and weave.


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