Some of the largest corporate interests in California have poured millions of dollars into an initiative campaign this year, as they have many times before. But this time, they're not asking voters to ease industry regulations or limit government power. Instead, they want approval of an $8-billion-a-year tax hike pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Since taking office more than 18 months ago, the Democratic governor has held dozens of meetings with such unnatural allies as oil companies, insurers and telecommunications interests that typically stand with Republicans, taking stock of their concerns and pitching them on the need for higher taxes. Some paid for polling that helped guide the governor as he put his initiative together.