Brown Attempts A Christie: Newly elected California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is taking a page out of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) book, using his post-election honeymoon to take a particularly strong stance on budget issues with the state legislature. On Monday, Brown's budget called for what may be the trifecta of politically difficult proposals to correct California's $25 billion deficit problems: 1. He asked Democrats to make cuts to social programs. 2. He urged Republicans to put taxes on the ballot for the next election and 3. He wants to convince voters to cast ballots for those measures -- essentially asking them to pay higher taxes. "I think there is a significant number of people who have an open mind," Brown said, according to the Sacramento Bee. "And it'll be up to the Legislature, myself and the business community and citizen groups and parent-teacher associations to make the case. And then whatever the people say, obviously we'll live with that." Brown's move is certainly Christie-esque. Christie took a very hard line with his state legislature on budget issues as soon as he got to office. Initially, it led to Christie's approval rating shooting up in the Garden State in large part because voters perceived him as trying to get something done. It will be interesting to see if California -- which is worse off economically than New Jersey -- responds to Brown in the same way. Of course, given Brown's age don't expect him to be the center of presidential speculation like Christie has been. Brown already had a go at that. Mark Your Calendars: Tom Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- a group that spent millions during the 2010 election cycle -- will deliver his annual State of American Business address at 9 a.m. And Donohue's remarks will be welcome news in the White House and on Capitol Hill. "We begin 2011 in a lot better shape than we found ourselves last year," Donohue will say, according to prepared remarks obtained by Hotline On Call. "The state of American business is improving." The Starting Five 1. Stay up to date on the developments in Arizona at NationalJournal.com, including news that Pres. Obama is heading to the state on Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the attack. 2. Nevada Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) isn't in any rush to decide on whether she'll run for the Senate in 2012. She told Jon Ralston Monday night that she'll decide in the early spring or summer. Previously she had said she'd decide by Valentine's Day. She is likely waiting to see if Sen. John Ensign (R) retires and/or Rep. Dean Heller (R) runs. 3. Gov. Sean Parnell (R) probably isn't making any friends In Alaska with this move: He's accepting a $20,000 raise. 4. Veteran Republican strategist Mike Murphy handicaps this week's Republican National Committee chair election. 5. South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) will travel to Missouri on Saturday to address the state GOP's annual dinner, stoking 2012 presidential speculation. This post was updated at 7:50 a.m. with more remarks from Pawlenty.
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