GOP, Dems skeptical of tax extension proposal


With the March 10 deadline looming, Brown may be closing in on the Republican votes he needs to put the five-year tax extensions on a June ballot. He has been meeting behind closed doors with members who may be receptive to giving their 'yes' vote for certain demands.

"Some of obvious things that have been discussed are, of course, pension reform, regulation reform and potentially a spending cap which would be in place during the same five years that the current tax rates would be extended," Senate Budget Chairman St. Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said.

One of the votes Brown's hoping to get is St. Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Long Beach, who wasn't ready to say whether he is liking what he's hearing. Brown only needs two Republican votes in each house to be able to ask voters whether the temporary tax hikes on income, sales and vehicle registration can be extended five more years.

Republicans, though, risk being vilified by anti-tax groups. Assm. Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, said he's a definite 'no.'

"What I'm seeing is a governor who's the governor of 'no.' No new jobs, no new ideas, nothing but taxes," he said.

The talk has always centered on trying to round up Republican votes, but the Democratic votes are not solidly there. St. Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, confirmed he is not an automatic 'yes' vote. That just means Brown needs another Republican to cross over to get to that magic two-thirds threshold.

"It's not a matter of Democrats or Republicans. It's a matter of Legislators. At the end of the day, we need two-thirds," Assembly Budget Chairman Assm. Bob Blumenfield, D-Los Angeles, said.

Even if enough Republicans cross over to support the tax vote, many GOP lawmakers believe Californians will side with them, as they did in 2009.

"I'm not scared of the voters because I firmly believe the voters will vote this down, just like they did by over 65 percent on a two-year extension," St. Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Thousand Oaks, said.

Leaders believe there'll be enough support to put the budget up for a vote Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

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