Governor's self-imposed budget deadline passes

March 10, 2011 7:20:35 PM PST
The governor's self-imposed budget deadline has now passed with no vote taken on Thursday at the state capitol. Gov. Jerry Brown still wants voters to decide whether to extend those temporary tax increases, but now it's not clear how long the deadline for lawmakers can be extended.

The Secretary of State is running out of time to print and send out the ballots for a special election on June 7. Meanwhile, the Assembly and Senate remain on call for a budget vote pending a deal.

For now, the chambers in both houses sit empty. Brown wanted a budget vote by Thrusday, but no compromise has been reached.

"Anybody who's been in Sacramento or followed the budget for years, knows that fermentation is part of the process and that's what's happening now," said the Governor's Chief Deputy Press Secretary Elizabeth Ashford.

The California Republican Party says Brown missing his self-imposed deadline shows that he's been unable to change anything in Sacramento.

"It's obviously a failure for Jerry Brown. First, he asked, he said he wanted all ideas. He wanted people to come to the table to negotiate," said Hector Barajas from the California Republican Party. "It's obvious he didn't want to negotiate and he didn't want the ideas because we're back in square one."

A splinter group of five Republican senators, who are open to supporting Brown's budget proposal, are still holding out for pension reform, a spending cap and regulatory changes -- touchy subjects among public employee unions who are pressuring Democrats not to cave in to GOP demands.

When asked if he was willing to give in on pension reform, Assm. Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said, "There's negotiations going on. The governor's engaged on those negotiations, and we'll see what the product looks like."

Also ratcheting up the pressure on Democrats are environmental groups that don't want Californians to lose their voice to developers in exchange for a budget vote.

"We're worried about a backroom deal that might shut people out of the process of planning for large developments in their communities," said Bill Magavern from the Sierra Club.

Brown has spent weeks barhopping and wining and dining to win over two Republicans in each house to go along with putting the tax extension on the June ballot. He sometimes brings his dog "Sutter" to GOP meetings to up the charm factor. Still, the senate president has a warning to Republican lawmakers about wanting too much.

"Don't overplay your hand because in the end, the people elected Gov. Brown instead of Meg Whitman," said St. Sen. Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

The California GOP Convention is less than two weeks away. There is talk that some Republicans may be more agreeable to the governor's ballot measure after the convention is over, to avoid being called out publicly for their vote.


Load Comments