By Mike Luery
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Governor Jerry Brown say time is running out for a budget deal at the Capitol. He’s looking for ways to help balance the budget before the June 15th constitutional deadline. The governor needs just four Republicans to support his tax extension measure on the ballot this June. But if that doesn’t work, there’s talk of a taking a tax hike directly to the people in November, by gathering at least half a million signatures via petition.
I asked the governor to explain his plan today at the Capitol: “If you move forward on this tax initiative for November, how do you sell that to the people?”
Governor Brown responded, “We’re not at any point of decision as of yet.”
The governor then added, “I’m negotiating in good faith, as recently as this morning with a number of Republicans and I remain hopeful that the Republicans will join with the Democrats and let the people vote on their future. Time is running out definitely.”
“Is there the possibility of an all cuts budget?” I asked the governor.
“That’s always a possibility,” Brown stated. “In fact,” he added, “that’s a real possibility if we don’t get the opposite which is the vote of the people. And if they vote no, we get an all cuts budget.”
An all cuts budget would mean roughly $12 billion in new program cuts and other solutions – on top of the $14 billion the legislature trimmed last week to offset California’s $26.6 billion deficit.
If Governor Brown opts for a November vote on taxes, he’ll need money to get at least half a million signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot. But Brown has about $4 million in the bank, according to campaign records on the Secretary of State’s Web site.
The three sticking points for a deal remain pension reform, a spending cap and regulatory relief, which mean relaxing some of California’s stringent environmental laws. Those three issues are causing plenty of friction at the Capitol.