Jerry Brown to Lawmakers: ‘Bite the Bullet’ on Tax for Roads

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SACRAMENTO —

Gov. Jerry Brown opened his annual State of the State address with a joke about spending his $24 million of campaign cash on a ballot proposition allowing him to seek a fifth term.

The 77-year-old Democrat is barred by term limits from running for office again.

Brown delivered his 14th State of the State speech to the Legislature on Thursday.

He did not outline new programs, saying he wants to focus instead on how to pay for commitments already made.

Brown is urging California lawmakers to “bite the bullet” and approve new taxes and fees dedicated to transportation.

The Democratic governor told the Legislature in his annual State of the State speech Thursday that it’s impossible to maintain roads and bridges without a dedicated source of revenue.

He says ideology and politics are barriers stand in the way but “one way or another, the roads must be fixed.”

Brown called a special session last year to deal with a backlog in transportation infrastructure spending, but his effort has not gained traction.

Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber says road construction can be funded without a tax hike and the GOP won’t support one.

Tax increases require a support from a supermajority of lawmakers, so Democrats can’t raise taxes without Republican votes.