Gov. Jerry Brown visits UC Berkeley, comments on his tax initiative

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Gov. Jerry Brown told The Daily Californian on Friday evening that if voters do not pass his proposed tax initiative in the fall, additional cuts will have to be made to balance the state deficit.

Brown attended the “Anthropology in the World” symposium, held at UC Berkeley’s International House in honor of Laura Nader, a campus anthropology professor and sister of former presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Brown’s initiative would temporarily raise certain taxes and if it does not pass, the University of California will be faced with a $200 million cut.

“You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip,” Brown said when asked what would happen if his initiative is not passed.

Brown’s visit to campus came two days after a state Assembly subcommittee rejected his plan to reduce the number of students eligible for Cal Grants and less than a week after students protested in Sacramento in support of higher education.

“The problem is that we have a $9 billion deficit and all the alternatives are being considered to see where we can make things work,” Brown said in response to the panel’s decision, though he said “students are being heard, (and) change is coming.”

Ralph Nader was at the symposium with his sister. He sat near Brown and campus public policy professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. Ralph Nader said in an interview that the symposium was important because it brought together a cross-section of people from a wide range of disciplines.

“It’s good to acknowledge faculty that are not football coaches,” he said.

During the symposium, Reich spoke about the distribution of wealth in the United States and a lack of progression since the recent economic downturn.

“Moral philosophy has been lost as a foundation for economics and it is our job in academia to bring it back,” Reich said.