Brown, Republican Lawmakers Resume Budget Negotiations

TOPIC ALERT:

On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and five Republican state senators resumed budget talks shortly after the lawmakers declared an impasse in negotiations, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The five Republican senators are:

  • Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto);
  • Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo);
  • Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres);
  • Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet); and
  • Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 3/9).

Background

Brown has proposed $12.5 billion in spending cuts and $12 billion in temporary tax extensions to help close a $26.6 billion budget shortfall over 18 months. His plan calls for more than $6 billion in cuts to health care and welfare-to-work services for low-income residents.

Brown initially set this Thursday as the deadline for lawmakers to approve a budget plan so his tax extension measure could go before voters in a June special election.

However, the five GOP senators on Monday announced that budget negotiations had broken down. They also sent a letter outlining their proposed policy changes, such as scaled-back pensions for public workers and further restrictions on state spending (California Healthline, 3/8).

Prospects for Budget Deal

Brown will need at least two GOP votes from each house of the Legislature to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to put the tax extension issue before voters on a June ballot (Lin, AP/San Jose Mercury News, 3/8).

In the Senate, the five Republicans who resumed negotiations on Tuesday said they met with Brown again "out of a mutual desire to keep the conversation moving forward." They added, "But we are realistic. Getting to a constructive agreement involves difficult compromise."

Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the Senate would vote on Brown's budget plan on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) indicated that the Assembly also is preparing for a Thursday vote (Sacramento Bee, 3/9).

However, some Republican Assembly members have said they are unwilling to support Brown's proposed tax extensions (AP/San Jose Mercury News, 3/8).

Editorial

According to a Sacramento Bee editorial, the policy changes sought by the five Republican senators who recently declared a budget impasse "cannot be enacted in a single week."  The editorial adds, "We welcome Republicans back to the fight, but hope they don't give up because they didn't get all they wanted immediately. That's not how negotiations work" (Sacramento Bee, 3/9).

Broadcast Coverage

On Tuesday, KQED's "California Report" reported on obstacles to passing Brown's budget plan (Myers, "California Report," KQED, 3/8).


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