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Brown Gets Silicon Valley Backing for Plan to Close $25.4 Billion Deficit

California Governor Jerry Brown won support for his deficit-closing package from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, whose chief urged lawmakers to back the plan. The organization includes Google Inc. (GOOG) and Stanford University.

Brown, 72, has the best approach to fixing the state’s chronic budget woes that have left it with the biggest U.S. state deficit and the lowest credit rating, Carl Guardino, the group’s chief executive officer, said on emerging from a meeting today with Brown in Sacramento. Guardino, who represents more than 300 members, urged legislators to strike a deal soon.

“We know in life that you never get what you want, but this is the point where you find that 90 percent you can agree on and make a deal that is good for California and move forward,” Guardino said after the one-hour meeting in the governor’s statehouse office.

Brown wants lawmakers to pass $12.5 billion of spending cuts and to call a statewide special election in June to ask voters to extend more than $9.3 billion of temporary taxes and fees that are set to end. Brown has courted business groups to help sway Republicans, who have sought to block his proposal.

The proposed ballot measure would seek a five-year extension for fee and tax increases approved in 2009, when the state faced a $42 billion deficit. It must pass the Legislature soon in order to provide enough time to prepare ballots.

Lacking Enough Votes

Brown said yesterday he still lacks enough Republican support to muster a two-thirds vote required to place the measure on the ballot. Democrats control both the 80-member Assembly, with 53 seats, and the Senate, where there are 15 Republicans out of 40 members.

Brown, in trying to close a $25.4 billion deficit projected through June 2012, would ask voters to retain a 0.25 percentage- point increase in personal income-tax rates; a 1 percentage- point boost in the retail-sales tax rate, to 8.25 percent; an increase in the rate for auto-registration fees of 0.5 percentage point, to 1.15 percent of a vehicle’s value; and to reduce the state’s child tax credit to $99 from $309.

His plan has won backing from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the largest business group in California’s most- populous city, the Bay Area Council in San Francisco and the California Association of Independent Business.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Marois in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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