Gov. Jerry Brown bashes gas tax re­peal in rare cam­paign stop

Merced Sun-Star (Saturday) - - Local - BY JANIE HAR

Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Jerry Brown made a rare ap­pear­ance on the 2018 cam­paign trail Fri­day, join­ing a fi­nal push against an ef­fort to roll back a gas tax hike he cham­pi­oned to pay for high­way re­pairs, an im­por­tant com­po­nent of his legacy as he pre­pares to leave of­fice.

Brown, a Demo­crat, gave a 90-sec­ond speech dur­ing a rally at a park near no­to­ri­ously con­gested High­way 101, which links Sil­i­con Val­ley to San Fran­cisco and the Cen­tral Val­ley.

He said the ini­tia­tive, which Re­pub­li­cans hope will drive their vot­ers to the polls, was cooked up by “shady politi­cians” who want to fool Cal­i­for­ni­ans.

“Prop. 6 is a scheme and a scam put on the bal­lot by some par­ti­sans, ac­tu­ally, they’re acolytes of Don­ald Trump,” the gov­er­nor said. “They don’t have the best in­ter­ests of Cal­i­for­nia in mind.”

The lead­ing faces of the cam­paign against the mea­sure have been fire­fight­ers and con­struc­tion work­ers, dozens of whom at­tended the rally, hold­ing signs and chant­ing “No on 6.” They say trans­porta­tion up­grades are badly needed for jobs as well as pub­lic safety.

Carl DeMaio, a con­ser­va­tive San Diego ra­dio host who made an un­suc­cess­ful run for Con­gress in 2014, is lead­ing the cam­paign for Propo­si­tion 6. It would re­peal in­creases in gas taxes and ve­hi­cle fees that Brown backed last year to fund an ex­pected $52 bil­lion in trans­porta­tion projects over a decade.

DeMaio and other sup­port­ers of the re­peal say the hikes are overkill for an al­ready ex­pen­sive state where work­ing fam­i­lies strug­gle to get by.

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