Tuesday, March 8, 2011
There was one bit of positive news for the Governor Monday. The California State Association of Counties said it supported, in concept, Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to shift more responsibility for programs to local governments.
Gov. Brown had set a Thursday deadline for a budget deal so that he could put a group of tax extensions to voters in a June special election. But the Governor said he’ll need a few more days.
“We lack Republican votes to put this matter before the people,” Brown said.
A group of five Republican lawmakers who’d been meeting with the Governor about the budget have sent him a letter stating that they’ve reached an impasse. The lawmakers said they were disappointed that the reforms they sought to pensions and the budget were rejected or watered down. Brown said he’s still open to GOP ideas – and hinted that he’d help lawmakers out in the future if they put up the votes for his tax extension.
“Look, with the open primary, there will be more independents and democrats voting in the republican primary and I would certainly want to help anybody who helps the state of California,” Brown said.
Meantime, another Republican, Senator Joel Anderson, responded to Brown’s call for big ideas by proposing the state shift responsibility for transportation projects from Caltrans to local governments.
“Unless we can prove that we can be good stewards with the taxpayers’ money, it doesn’t matter where the talks are going, because the voters aren’t going to follow,” Anderson said.
Anderson is a member of the “Taxpayer’s Caucus,” a group of Republican lawmakers who oppose putting Brown’s tax extensions on the ballot. Brown needs votes from all legislative Democrats and four Republicans to pass his plan. It’s unclear exactly how much latitude he has before the ballot window closes.