Opposition to ‘Trigger’ Cuts Good News for Brown, Democrats

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If you love incoherence, you'll love the new Field Poll.

Voters continue to support Gov. Jerry Brown, even though more than two thirds of voters say they don't like the method he used to close the budget. And the budget is the topic on which Brown has focused his time.

Setting aside the public incoherence, the poll does send one message.

The strong public opposition to Brown's trigger cuts -- automatic cuts in education that take effect in December if revenues run short, as they seem likely to do -- is not bad news politically for the governor or for the Democrats.

In fact, it might very well be good news, since public opposition to those cuts is full of political possibility.

Brown and the Democrats have pushed for more tax revenues to cushion the blow of budget cuts. Republicans blocked this move in the legislature, so the Democrats have talked of taking revenue increases to the people at the ballot next year.

The opposition to the trigger cuts may make it much easier to pass tax initiatives -- and tax initiatives are an uphill fight.

Brown and the Democrats could directly link their initiative, or initiatives, to the trigger cuts by making clear that the revenues that come from more taxes will go directly to reversing those unpopular trigger cuts.

That kind of targeted approach -- vote for these taxes, get this exact spending -- has a history of working elsewhere. Most notably in the neighboring states of Oregon and Arizona, which in the past two years has seen voters approve tax increases in this same way.

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