Thursday, February 24, 2011
Governor Brown has been hoping Republicans will signal their openness to a budget deal that includes a ballot measure to extend tax increases. But the formation of a “Taxpayers Caucus” Wednesday suggests the gulf between the two parties remains wide.
Of the 42 Republicans in the Senate and Assembly, all but 12 have joined the new Taxpayers Caucus. Irvine Assemblyman Donald Wagner said the GOP will work with Governor Brown on the state’s financial troubles – but won’t support more taxes.
“We put a number of ideas out, and to every single one of those ideas, the governor said no. No to pension reform, no to reducing the size of government, no to spending caps, no to a whole laundry list of ideas,” Wagner said.
The Caucus promises to oppose placing any tax increases on the ballot – unless voters also get to weigh in on a tax cut of at least the same size.
“The governor has dismissed this idea,” Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said. “It’s a gimmick and it’s dead on arrival.”
Westrup said the governor wants an “open dialogue” with Republicans – but doesn’t want to “overload” the budget with other measures.