Death and Taxes: Heading to the November Ballot

It’s an old adage: Nothing is certain but death and taxes. And Gov. Jerry Brown revived it today as he made some remarks about measures making their way to the November ballot.

A measure that would abolish the death penalty in California and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole qualified for the ballot yesterday. Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified that the initiative petition had garnered the necessary half million valid signatures so California voters will get to weigh in on Nov. 6. One key backer is former director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Jeanne Woodford. As warden at San Quentin Prison she oversaw several executions, but has become a vocal opponent of capital punishment. Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley has emerged as a strong voice against the ballot measure and in favor of the death penalty.

Brown wouldn’t take a stand on the ballot measure just now, but he vetoed death penalty legislation back in 1977, and today said it was a “good thing” Californians will get to vote on it this year.

Brown is also pushing his measure to raise taxes — sales taxes on all of us and income taxes on the wealthy — to generate more revenue for the state budget. The campaign to qualify that measure is in high gear, in a race to collect more than 800,000 signatures next month.

On death and taxes, Stephen Colbert gets the last word.