Gov. Brown Turns Up Pressure As Budget Deadline Nears

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown called on the Legislature Monday to rise above partisan differences and resist pressure from talk shows, bloggers and anti-tax advocates to pass a California budget that would close the remaining $9.6 billion deficit with temporary taxes and no additional cuts.

   Both the Senate and Assembly were expected to take up budget issues Monday, although it was not clear whether they would make progress on the most contentious issue — continuing higher taxes. A voter-approved initiative taking effect this year will punish lawmakers by halting their pay if they fail to make Wednesday’s deadline for sending a balanced budget to the governor’s desk.

   “We’ve got to bite the bullet. We’ve got to act as adults, rise above our own little comfort zones — whether it’s from the left or the right or the middle — and get working for California,” Brown said at a news conference.

   He made his appeal as leaders of California groups representing business, labor, law enforcement and education stood by his side and pledged their support for his proposal. Many of those leaders, from across the political spectrum, said they had problems with individual aspects of Brown’s plan but they were willing to support it for the good of California.

   “What we need is to get this uncertainty resolved,” said Bill Dombrowski, head of the California Retailers Association. The group traditionally has opposed higher taxes but has voted to support them in the special election Brown seeks. “What we need is to end this pain.”

   Martha Fluor, president of the California School Boards Association, said she is a lifelong Republican but is “really frustrated and angry” with GOP lawmakers for opposing a budget with tax extensions.

   “This is a matter of representing all in their districts, not just Republicans,” Fluor said. “The kids are suffering.”

   The statutory deadline to pass a budget has been routinely missed for decades, but the governor and others hope the threat of lost pay motivates lawmakers to act. The state controller has said any missed salary and per diem payments will not be paid retroactively.

   Brown said Monday that is the budget isn’t resolved by Wednesday, work would continue, even if ultimately the higher taxes must be put on the ballot by gathering signatures from the public.

   “I don’t think California should be led by talk show hosts or by theorists in Washington or blog-posters,” he said. “This is about the people of California, our schools, our public safety, our environment, our economy.”

   The governor posted a video message Sunday stressing that lawmakers still need four Republican votes — two in each house — to extend higher taxes and call a special tax election. Republicans have been demanding a firm state spending cap and reforms to public pensions and business regulations, and the governor has said he is close to reaching a compromise on those.

   Brown and the Democratic majority also want a so-called “tax bridge” that would briefly extend temporary increases in the sales and vehicle taxes until a special election can be called, perhaps as early as September. Democratic lawmakers want those tax increases extended for the full fiscal year that begins July 1, primarily to give school districts budgeting stability.

   However, Brown said Monday that the one-year bridge could be seen as a negotiating position. He also added that talks with GOP lawmakers continued over the weekend and a major new idea was raised Sunday. He would not discuss details, but joked that it would “give heartburn to environmentalists and a lot of other people.”

   Ultimately, Brown wants the tax question to go before voters. He wants the increase to the sales and vehicle taxes extended for five years, and an expired increase in the personal income tax rate revived for four years. The temporary increases to all three of those taxes were approved in 2009. The sales and vehicle tax hikes will expire June 30 unless the Legislature takes steps to renew them.

   The Democrats’ one-year tax bridge failed in the Senate Friday on a party line vote, and GOP leaders said none of their members would vote to extend or raise taxes directly.

   The Senate passed a few relatively minor budget bills Saturday but did not touch the tax question, while the Assembly has not taken up budget matters since last week.

   California started the year with a $26.6 billion budget deficit but has narrowed that to $9.6 billion, primarily through spending cuts approved by Democrats. Democratic lawmakers, the majority in both houses, say they do not want to close the remaining shortfall with spending cuts alone.

   They need some Republican support to reach the two-thirds voting threshold set by state law to pass tax increases or place measures on the ballot.

   (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Landsnekt

    Why does brown only talk to his supporters on this issue? He should be talking to people who do not like his plan and then try to modify it to get the votes needed. Its called leadership Mr. Brown….its what you were elected for.

    If you keep going to the same place and doing the same thing and expect change, you must be insane.

    • Old Hal

      Did you NOT read the story! It says “business leaders and those that don’t like all of his plan!”…and ” has some of the things close to approval”……I think you just like to have your name displayed anywhere!

  • marcel

    Lesson old fart, just because some idiots before you messed up big, it does not mean you have to take it on California people to make you look good . Go home and will get a govenor that can do something right for our state. You are an A$^&%$^&.

  • Alex

    He HAS been trying to modify it, the GOP refuses to allow it to go to a VOTE!! Basically, they are saying that they don’t want to allow the people to decide on keeping the tax extensions… not a tax hike as they are trying to scare us into believing. Gov. Brown has already agreed to many cuts and got the budget down to 9.6 billion from 26+ billion defecit..

    The GOP has stated they would rather raid school funds then allow a tax extension to go to vote! What else can he really do at this point? I say cut all their pet projects and see how they like it

    • NO amnesty

      What he can do is start deporting illegal aliens and not give them in state tuition. THEY are illegal! Until this state stops wasting tax payer money on illegal aliens I will not vote for any increase.

  • NoNewTaxes

    Hey Alex, I’m tired of high taxes in California and across the country. So if you like high taxes go to NYC. They will love you!

  • NoNewTaxes

    The school system in California should actually be desolved because 65% of the School Budget goes to retired teachers. That’s nuts

    • NO amnesty

      NO, most of it goes to the funding of illegal aliens. Stop paying for illegal aliens and watch the school system recover just fine.

    • dunphy

      it’s spelled dissolved.
      and please provide support for your statistic..

  • mike

    Wasn’t the 2/3 voting eliminated.


    Let the democrats spend California over the edge, that is the only way to ever sort things out. Bankruptcy then reorganization. Maybe then people will wake up and stop believing all the politically correct talking points.

    • dunphy

      where’s political correctness involved in this discussion?

  • Laughy

    Why not Raise Taxes and Spend even more! Then more debt will be created and we can create more special elections to approve tax extensions! With that logic we are surely heading in the right direction :)

    • dunphy

      actually, the taxes pay the bills, preventing a debt. look, if you’re opposed to extending, not raising the taxes, that’s fine. but at least provide a coherent reason for it.

  • NO amnesty

    Why isn’t brown deporting illegal aliens? THAT would definately help the budget. He wants to tax and cut everything else but REFUSES to follow the law. I for one do NOT want any tax increase as long as this administration refuses to cut aid to illegal aliens. Do you know the definition of illegal Jerry?

  • playnice

    I’m not a calfifornia resident but I notice that your governor seems to always want the voters to decide. Why do you need a governor if you do all the deciding?

    • Fred


    • LOL

      Because one wrong move and all the companies will move, leading to a bigger problem. It is a catch 22. Trying to keep everyone happy and as a result no REAL solution can be attained.

  • Moneypoor

    Its always just taxes or financial manuevering to balance the budget. We need to stop the spending. You look at the counties that are balancing their budgets. They are making cuts in spending for now and in the future. All they want to do is defer the problem down the road. Now is the time to start changing.

  • Kevin O'Connor

    No more highre taxes, deport illegal aliens first and then cut the lazy welfare program. This would be the best thing that ever happen to tjhem and our country.

    Welfare is like herioin..

    Democrats the party of Welfare and illegal aliens

  • Karen

    Democrats are also the party of Blacks looking for more affirmative action, welfare, section 8 housing, food stamps, planned parent abortions, medicaid and school lunch programs for their illegit kids. They are also the party of gays, environmental kooks, socialists, pot smoking hippies and all manner of freeloaders. By and large most of these losers don’t make enough to pay state or federal taxes. They are all takers, not makers. Just the kind of zeros that would vote for Brown’s tax plan since they don’t pay taxes!

    • Fred

      Ya know Karen, the credibility of your argument dissolves when you get racial. Instead, you should focus on the programs and the entitlement attitudes, the underlying social agenda, and so forth. Those that want to make a career leeching of the feds, the state, and local govt. come in all colors. Parasites are not limited to a particular ethnic group.

  • Randy West

    I noticed Brown had all his high priced goons out with him. Kind of hard to be taken seriously when you make every concession you can to law enforcement and the unions every chance you get.

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