Gov. Jerry Brown's (D) effort to reach a budget deal by this Thursday received a major setback Monday when five Republican senators declared an impasse, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Brown had set Thursday as the budget deadline to provide election officials with sufficient time to prepare for a June 7 special election that would ask voters to approve a ballot measure to extend income, sales and vehicle taxes for five years (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 3/8).
In addition to the proposed $12 billion in temporary tax extensions, Brown's budget plan calls for $12.5 billion in spending cuts to help close a $26.6 billion budget shortfall over 18 months.
The proposal includes more than $6 billion in cuts to health care programs and welfare-to-work services for low-income residents.
If the state fails to pass his proposed tax extensions, Brown said he would only approve a budget that cuts more than $25 billion from state services, including health and human services programs (California Healthline, 3/2).
GOP Puts Up Roadblocks
Brown needs at least two GOP votes in each house of the Legislature to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to put the tax issue before voters (Sacramento Bee, 3/8).
Five Republican senators had been considered the most likely in the Senate to vote for Brown's spending plan before they declared the budget impasse. The five senators are:
- Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto);
- Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo);
- Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres);
- Bill Emmerson (R-Redlands); and
- Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach).
In a letter to Brown, the senators outlined the policy changes they are seeking, including scaled-back pensions for public workers and further restrictions on state spending. The lawmakers said they did not expect all of their demands to be met but criticized Brown for weakening their proposals (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 3/8).
In response to the Republican roadblocks, Brown said reaching a budget deal might take longer than his original Thursday deadline (Williams, AP/Contra Costa Times, 3/7).
Counties Support Realignment
In related news, the California State Association of Counties has released a letter expressing support for Brown's plan to shift certain state services to counties.
The letter also calls for state officials to resolve funding issues and ensure that county-level agencies have sufficient funding to run the programs (Branan, Sacramento Bee, 3/7).
Editorial, Opinion Piece
Headlines and links to an editorial and an opinion piece on Brown's budget proposal are provided below.