Thursday, March 10, 2011
Thursday was Gov. Jerry Brown’s self-imposed deadline for a budget deal. But the Governor has now asked lawmakers to delay votes on a spending plan.
Deadlines are always a bit nebulous at the Capitol – and this year’s budget calendar is no exception. Gov. Brown had pledged to get a spending plan by today in order to put a series of tax extensions to voters on a June special election ballot. But now his office said a delay will allow him more time to find common ground. Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg said they’re “on the verge” of a deal.
“But we also, you know, want to make sure that the Governor especially has enough time and room to negotiate and talk with some of the members of the minority party and see if we can you know pull this together and go to the floor with as much consensus as is possible in this business,” Steinberg said.
Brown’s proposal includes billions in cuts to most sectors of government and a five-year extension of car, income and sales taxes. He needs Republican support to put those taxes to voters – and he’s been meeting with a group of five GOP Senators to try to win their votes, including Sam Blakeslee.
“Hard decisions are called for and we’re going to try to make those as responsibly as we can but we want to make sure that voters have all the right choices before them on the ballot if we get to that point,” Blakeslee said.
Blakeslee and the other Senators are asking Brown for a hard state spending limit as well as changes to public employee pensions. But there’s no word yet on Assembly Republican support – and Brown needs two GOP votes in each house. It’s unclear how much time Brown has to negotiate a final deal before it’s too late for a June election. Senate Leader Steinberg said his members will be on call through the weekend.