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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS / GOVERNOR : Wilson Vows to Cut Taxes if Elected : Challenger Kathleen Brown's campaign assails incumbent as 'tax-and- spend' Republican who signed a record increase in 1991. Both candidates focus on Prop. 187.


Gov. Pete Wilson, who signed the biggest tax increase in state history in 1991, said Saturday that he will cut taxes if he is elected to serve a second term.

At a pancake breakfast in Ontario, the Republican incumbent told a crowd of about 600 supporters that if he is reelected, "we are going to create enough jobs and put enough people back to work in a second term that in fact we are going to be able to lower the taxes of this high-tax state."

Then at a barbecue attended by 300 sign-waving Wilson voters in Valencia, the governor repeated the pledge as he drew a contrast between himself and his Democratic challenger, Treasurer Kathleen Brown.

Calling Brown "a taxer and a spender," Wilson said: "We don't have to get new revenues by increasing taxes. We do it by getting new working taxpayers, new people who are bringing in good paychecks. When we've got enough of them, a reform this state needs--both in the interest of fairness to taxpayers and to make California even more competitive for jobs--is to cut taxes."

Wilson did not say specifically which taxes he would seek to cut. "We're working on (a specific proposal), but it's not something that I can outline for you," he told reporters. He also could not say exactly when cuts might be made, saying only, "I hope not very far down the road."

The Brown campaign characterized Wilson's tax-cut remarks as a last-minute attempt to trick voters with false promises.

"His lead in the polls is quickly evaporating. His support for the immigrant-bashing Proposition 187 is now turning against him. And he's hopeful that with only a few days left before the election voters will not be able to hear or read about his true record as a tax-and-spend Republican," said Steven M. Glazer, a Brown campaign spokesman.

"Pete 'Read My Lips' Wilson has enacted a greater level of taxation on middle-class families than any state politician in office today. He has failed to balance a single budget and has authored more than 200 new tax and fee increases--all the while mouthing the tax-cut mantra," Glazer said. "When Wilson's lips move, better hold on to your wallet."

Faced with a huge state budget deficit the year after he was elected, Wilson negotiated and signed a $7-billion tax increase with the Legislature to bridge the gap.

Both candidates spent much of Saturday talking about Proposition 187, the measure that would deny education and health care services to illegal immigrants. Wilson repeated his charge that passing Proposition 187 was the only way to make federal officials reimburse California for the costs of services.

"We don't need people who are not even Californians telling us how to vote on 187," he said at one point. "We will make the decision. We're going to pass 187 and when we do we will end the unfairness."

Brown tore into Wilson for his support of the measure as she campaigned in Northern and Central California.

"Perhaps there is no issue more telling about character and quality in our future than the way this man has cynically used our children and our fears and our frustration around the issue of illegal immigration," Brown told about 1,000 people who attended a rally for Democratic women candidates at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

The rally was part of an effort to galvanize women voters. Brown shared the stage with First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Assemblywoman Delaine Eastin, who is running for state superintendent of public instruction against Wilson's education adviser, Maureen DiMarco.

Ellen Malcolm, founder of EMILY's List, the fund-raising group for women candidates, said her organization would spend $1.25 million on a get-out-the-vote effort aimed at California women who are not regular voters.

"Women are going to make a difference and women are going to win again in 1994," she said.

Eastin castigated the governor for cutting schools while raising the prison budget by 39.6%. She said the state has ended up with a "Cadillac prison system and jalopy schools." In 5,000 years of recorded human history, she added, "there was never a country that was considered great because it had the best prison system."

Hillary Clinton, just returned from witnessing the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, praised Feinstein and Brown for their courage--Feinstein for seeking to ban assault rifles and Brown for opposing Proposition 187.

Attacking Wilson and Senate candidate Mike Huffington, Clinton said: "We have on the one side political candidates who are playing to our fears and who are stirring up hatred among us and who are cynically exploiting the modern techniques of campaigning in order to convey information oftentimes false about their opponents.

"On the other side, you have two women, both of whom carry good values, that sense of optimism and hope that will make a difference, and already has in the lives of real people."

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