Brown, Democrats Work 2 Fronts On Calif. Budget

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and his fellow Democrats in the Legislature worked Friday along two different tracks with the hope that one will lead to a budget deal before the start of California’s new fiscal year next week.

Brown met with Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to discuss an alternative budget plan the governor could support if it were passed by a simple majority of Democrats.

The governor, meanwhile, kept insisting he still has time to persuade Republican lawmakers to support his call for a special election so voters can decide whether to increase taxes.

“The speaker continues to meet with the governor, the pro tem and Republican leaders to find a comprehensive budget solution and will continue to do so over the weekend,” said Perez’s spokeswoman Robin Swanson. “He is focused on delivering a budget agreement that doesn’t make further devastating cuts to schools and public safety.”

California’s fiscal year ends Thursday, and for the first time lawmakers are feeling additional pressure to resolve the state’s budget crisis in a timely manner. They are losing their salaries and living expenses until they balance the state’s annual spending plan by closing a $9.6 billion budget deficit

Lawmakers from both parties this week sounded increasingly pessimistic that Brown could get a special election. Some even proclaimed the governor’s plan dead.

“Is Plan A dead? I’ll leave it to the governor to announce the wake and the funeral services but we are proceeding to try to develop again the best majority vote budget that we can with the governor,” Steinberg said Thursday.

Democratic lawmakers are seeking the governor’s input on a majority-vote budget that he could sign after he vetoed their initial budget package last week. Brown had said the Democrats’ spending plan relied too much on borrowing and legal maneuvers.

It’s unclear how the majority party could put together a new plan without taxes, especially when its leaders have pledged not to make further cuts to education and public safety.

Brown has said since his gubernatorial campaign that he would seek a statewide vote on the increases, the last of which expire June 30.

This week he said he remained in negotiations to get the four Republican votes he needs to call a special election. Such an election would let voters weigh in on whether to extend increases in sales, vehicle and personal income taxes for up to five years.

But Republicans for months have resisted Brown’s call for a special election without promises of pension reform and a state spending cap, possibly as companion ballot initiatives. Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway said those reforms weren’t enough to get her support for a special election.

Senate Republicans said they were willing to let Californians vote on tax extensions but accused the governor of being unwilling to compromise because of pressure from public employee unions.

“It’s the public unions and the governor who have become the problem in this budget negotiation, not Republicans,” said Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, vice chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

The governor’s spokesman, Gil Duran, said it was Republicans who refused to allow a special election vote to go forward, even when the governor made concessions earlier this year.

“They’ve again shown what they’re best at — grandstanding without solving problems,” Duran said.

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

  • steve

    Public Service Unions and the Democrats they support are bleeding the rest of Californians to death. There are over 15,000 employees in the Department of Corrections earning over $100k a year! I am a medical professional, employed by the federal Veterans Administration. I consider myself very well compensated. But, my exact counterpart in the California Correction System earns twice as much as I do.

  • An American

    PSU & DEMS are the vampires of the government. “YOU CANNOT TAX A NATION INTO PROSPERITY”


    you are both blind republicans that do not know what you are talking about and do not understand the facts. I am a public employee and my gross monthly is $5300. Take out taxes and benefits and my take home is $4000. and you say I am over paid get your head out of your @ss.

    • Jeff

      Yes Public employee you are I am pvt sector and am around 3000 a month after taxes without a comfy pension plan or nice guaranteed step raises every year. Studies have shown that ca public employees earn on average more than the pvt sector now, Unions are no longer needed and should be forbidden in state gov’t when a special interest can influence an elected official’s decisions so much as what the unions are doing for Brown, who would have never won without their money and should have never even been allowed to run in the first place, what a hypocrite he is saying he doesn’t like loop holes than taking fulling advantage of one for his own benefit while collecting 4 other pensions.

      • dunphy

        what studies? what private sector employees pay was used in comparison? If you’re comparing a dept. coordinator who earned a Master’s degree in the public sector to a janitor’s salary, they won’t be equal.
        Until you compare two of the same jobs, I don’t buy your argument that state workers earn more than their private industry counterpart.s.

    • mark

      democrats are non only ignorant but every one are Idiots

      • billie aldridge

        as are republicians.

  • billie aldridge

    are not all lawmakers grandstanders?

  • Ray

    Are the democrats really interested in a balanced budget if so cut off aid ti illegals have the schools turn in the illegals to ICE that will balance the budget it is time to stop all the tax and spend that is happening in this state. this is what happens when you regulate too much you run business out of state and kill jobs.

  • Pat

    I see the legislature wants to cut public safety; but, does not want to cut welfare payments, their free cars, free gas, or the stipend they receive (on top of their salary) just for going to work. Make those that receive welfare payments pass a drug test. I had to take a drug test to get my job. Have the able bodied welfare recipients work the farms. No work, no pay.

  • Laszlo Mohacsi

    Well let’s see if we don;t pay any of the Congerss and senate how much can we save?I think we need to replace the government officals all of them!Look we need to have and maintain a balanced budget and yes we can lay off some of those dam state workers as well! I hate when i go to do business at a government office they are slow rude and have an attitude, Like Why are you bothering me. We need a small federal and state government and a strong local government!

  • Ed

    California is controlled by the teachers, firefighter, correctional officers, and SEIU state employee unions. Has been for a long time. The legislators have given them sweetheart retirement packages as payback for election contributions. Taxpayers not only fund safety retirements at 100% but also fund private 457 plans for correctional officers. 457 plans are like 401k’s for the private sector. Why fund one retirement plan when you can fund two? California currently owes the correctional officers 600 million alone for their vacation buy back upon retirement. Wonder what their “sick leave” buy back provisions are. Don’t look for the Democrat legislators to be forth coming with that information anytime soon!

    • dunphy

      your fantasies of victimization are laughable. you mean to tell me stat workers hold more political power than lobbyists from the private sector?
      Remember when teachers, public employees, Planned Parenthood, NPR and PBS crashed the stock market, wiped out half of our 401Ks, took trillions in taxpayer fuinded bail outs, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, gave themselves billions in bonuses, and paid no taxes?
      Yeah, me neither

  • Susan T

    If you like victim speeches you’ll have to wait for the Democrat National Convention.

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