SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown took a big step toward delivering on a campaign promise he made two years ago to fix the state's perpetual budget deficits and to raise taxes to do it only if voters agreed.

Brown said voters put their trust in his plan during Tuesday's election by approving Proposition 30, which raises the statewide sales tax and boosts income taxes on the wealthy.

The changes will provide $6 billion to balance the state budget.

Brown, a Democrat, said Wednesday that Proposition 30 will put California on a course to fiscal stability after five years of battering by the recession. He characterized his victory as "a vote of confidence with some reservations."

Now, he said, he must retain voters' trust by avoiding spending binges.

"There are two things that I'm very skeptical about. One is mandates and the other is legacies," he said. "So I'm just going to carry on."

With Democrats poised to secure a two-thirds supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature, Brown should have an easier time pursuing his broader agenda.

That makeup would allow Democrats to pass budgets and make other spending decisions without any Republican support.

Observers have said Brown's desire for a lasting gubernatorial legacy was one of the chief reasons he sought the job again in 2010 after first serving as governor from 1975 to 1983, before voters approved term limits.

He has said he wanted to return to the governor's office after nearly three decades to "get stuff done," explaining he would lay out his best ideas and leave the choices to voters.

His broader agenda includes building a $68 billion high-speed rail line, streamlining the state's environmental regulations, and building two giant underground tunnels to funnel water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the state's water system.

Brown has strong support from labor unions that also were victorious Tuesday in fending off an initiative challenge to their political clout.

Proposition 30, which raises the statewide sales tax for four years and income taxes for seven years on those who make more than $250,000 a year, got an immediate nod of approval from the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's. It called the measure "the linchpin to the governor's broader, multiyear strategy for reversing the state's negative budget position."

Revenue from the initiative will help the state avoid deep cuts to public schools and more tuition hikes at California's colleges.

Business groups that had feared a downward slide if the measure failed and forced huge education cuts, also cheered the win, despite higher tax bills for some Californians.

Brown had "done the near impossible" and given California "the temporary breathing room it needs to continue getting its fiscal house in order, restore our economy to health and avoid additional massive cuts to education and vital local public services," Jim Wunderman, president and chief executive officer of the Bay Area Council, which represents businesses in the San Francisco Bay area, said in a statement.

In winning passage of his initiative, Brown overcame strong voter distrust of state government fueled by a stream of negative publicity over the summer.

Brown was aware of the challenges and did his best to tie the tax initiative to education funding, noted Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California.

"All of this just reinforces just how knowledgeable the governor is about the political process as well as the policy process to make this happen, because it's not easy," Baldassare said.

School districts that were prepared to lay off teachers and cut as many as three weeks of classes were jubilant, as were leaders of the state's university and college systems. The California State University system, which faced a $250 million mid-year budget cut if the initiative failed, was set to hand out $249 per-student tuition refunds for the current semester.

Exit polls showed Brown's initiative did well with minority and younger voters, and that the poorest voters were the most likely to support it. A coalition of community groups that initially backed a separate millionaire's tax claimed credit for turning out some of the new and infrequent voters who they said helped push Brown's initiative over the threshold.

"This coalition of community, interfaith and labor came together because we knew passing Prop 30 would be tough, and believed that a focus on turning out our base voters could be decisive," said Anthony Thigpenn, chairman of a group California Calls.

___

Williams reported from Los Angeles.

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  • Prop 30: Gov. Jerry Brown's Tax Initiative (APPROVED)

    Yes - 53.9% No - 46.1% <strong>YES vote: </strong> There will be an increase in state income taxes on the wealthy (those who make over $250,000) for seven years. Sales taxes will increase by ¼ cent for four years. Its passage will stave off $6 billion in automatic "trigger cuts" -- mainly to K-12 schools and state universities -- that Gov. Jerry Brown wrote into the 2012-2013 budget. <strong>NO vote: </strong> State income taxes and sales taxes are not increased, and California's education budget will be gutted in accordance with Brown's "trigger cut" budget. <em>California Gov. Jerry Brown joins students at a rally promoting Prop. 30 in the upcoming election in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012. Prop 30 would raise taxes, directing the money toward education. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)</em>

  • Prop 31: Two-Year Budget Cycle (REJECTED)

    Yes - 39.2% No - 60.8% <strong>YES vote: </strong> All bills will be made public at least three days before coming to a vote before the legislature, lengthen the state's budgeting cycle from one to two years, mandate the identification of funding sources for all new programs costing over $25 million and allow local governments to create "regional collaboration" bodies possessing the ability to supersede state laws. <strong>NO vote: </strong> There will be no change to the California legislature and governor's fiscal responsibilities.

  • Prop 32: Ban On Corporate & Union Contributions (REJECTED)

    Yes - 43.9% No - 56.1% <strong>YES vote: </strong> Unions and corporations cannot use money automatically deducted from employee checks for political donations. <strong>NO vote: </strong> There will be no change to the laws that currently allow unions and corporations to use money automatically deducted from their employees' pay checks for political purposes.

  • Prop 33: Auto Insurance Histories (REJECTED)

    Yes - 45.4% No - 54.6% <strong>YES vote: </strong> Auto insurance companies will take into account a customer's car insurance history, even if it spans different companies. <strong>NO vote: </strong> Auto insurance companies will continue to be prohibited from giving customers discounts based on their histories with other companies.

  • Prop 34: Repeal Of The Death Penalty (REJECTED)

    Yes - 47.2% No - 52.8% <strong>YES vote: </strong> The death penalty will end in California. <strong>NO vote: </strong> California's death penalty sentence remains intact.

  • Prop 35: Human Trafficking Penalties (APPROVED)

    Yes - 81.1% No - 18.9% <strong>YES vote: </strong> Prosecutors will be able to seek harsher penalties (fines and prison sentences) for convicted human traffickers. <strong>NO vote: </strong> The laws currently in place about sentencing convicted human traffickers will remain intact.

  • Prop 36: Alteration Of The 'Three Strikes' Law (APPROVED)

    Yes - 68.6% No - 31.4% <strong>YES vote: </strong> Convicts with two prior convictions who commit a third, nonserious or non-violent crime will not be sentenced to life in prison. Those who are currently in jail with a life sentence for a nonserious or non-violent crime could be given shorter prison sentences. <strong>NO vote: </strong> California's "Three Strikes Law," in which felons could receive life imprisonment for their third conviction, remains intact. Those already in jail for their third felony will remain.

  • Prop 37: GMO Labeling (REJECTED)

    Yes - 46.9% No - 53.1% <strong>YES vote: </strong> Companies will be required to put labels on all food with GMOs (genetically modified organisms). <strong>NO vote: </strong> Genetically engineered foods will continue to remain unlabeled.

  • Prop 38: Molly Munger's Tax Initiative (REJECTED)

    Yes - 27.7% No - 72.3% <strong>YES vote: </strong> All Californians will have a higher rates of personal income taxes, the revenues of which get routed to local K-12 schools and early childhood programs. <strong>NO vote: </strong> Californians continue with their current personal state income tax rates. Schools get no extra money. <em>Molly Munger, a wealthy attorney and civil rights advocate, listens to a reporters question regarding her proposed ballot initiative to raise income taxes for school funding following her appearance at the California Parent Teacher Association's annual meeting in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)</em>

  • Prop 39: Income Tax Increases For Multistate Businesses (APPROVED)

    Yes - 60.1% No - 39.9% <strong>YES vote: </strong> All businesses will be forced to calculate their taxes based exclusively on in-state sales. <strong>NO vote: </strong> Businesses will continue to choose whether to calculate their state taxes based on either the sales they make in the state or a combination of sales, property and employees in the state.

  • Prop 40: Referendum On State Senate Redistricting Plan (APPROVED)

    Yes - 71.4% No - 28.6% <strong>YES vote: </strong> California will continue to use the new Senate district boundaries that were drawn and certified by the Citizens Redistricting Commission in 2011. <strong>NO vote: </strong> The California Supreme Court will appoint a special master to determine new state senate districts.