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Brown reports $1.7 M for his tax campaign
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SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown's campaign reported Tuesday that it has raised $1.7 million for his proposed November ballot initiative to temporarily raise California's sales and income taxes to help solve the state's ongoing budget deficits.

The largest donor was the California Hospitals Committee, which gave $500,000. A building trades union, the American Beverage Association and Occidental Petroleum each gave $250,000 to the campaign, which is still collecting signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Several American Indian tribes and affiliated groups also made contributions.

In all, the committee raised $1.2 million in 2011, according to campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state's office. Brown's campaign has reported taking in another $500,000 in January.

Tuesday was the deadline for candidates, campaigns and contributors to report spending for 2011.

The Democratic governor wants to ask voters to raise the statewide sales tax by half a cent for four years and boost the income tax rate on those making $250,000 or more a year by as much as 2 percentage points for five years. The extra revenue would go toward K-12 education, to help counties pay for social services programs, and to house lower-level offenders who used to be sentenced to state prison but are now going to county jails.

Brown ended the year with $5 million in his 2010 campaign fund and $325,000 in his 2014 re-election account.

Just two initiatives will appear on the June primary ballot: Proposition 29, which would add $1 to the cost of a pack of cigarettes to fund cancer research; and Proposition 28, which would change term limits for state lawmakers. That measure would reduce the total number of years they could serve from 12 to 14 but allow the full term to be served in either the Assembly or Senate.

Under current law, lawmakers can serve a maximum of six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate.

The prospects for Proposition 28 are uncertain. A committee backing the term-limits initiative reported having just $11,000 cash on hand and $540,000 in debts at the end of 2011.

The campaign committee for the tobacco tax reported raising about $1.8 million in 2011, but ended the year with just $246,000 on hand and nearly $580,000 in debts. Opponents, funded almost entirely by Philip Morris and its subsidiaries, reported raising nearly $2.7 million to fight the proposition, but had just $292,000 remaining.

Three measures have qualified for the November 2012 ballot. They include a proposal to scale back the restrictions that prevent insurance companies from setting auto insurance rates based upon a driver's history of coverage. Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph supports the measure and has already given $8 million in support, and the campaign account reported ending the year with $6 million in the bank.

November's ballot also includes a measure that would prohibit unions from collecting members' dues from their paychecks. Three campaign committees backing that proposition had not yet filed their finance reports on Tuesday afternoon. A coalition of unions that opposes the measure reported having $467,000 at the end of 2011, and reported another $450,000 in contributions from the Peace Officers Research Association of California on Tuesday.

An $11 billion water bond approved by the state Legislature is also scheduled to appear before voters in November, but its future is uncertain as lawmakers and the governor work to either scale back or pull it from the ballot in favor of a lower-cost alternative.