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CA Republicans Kick Off Convention Amid Budget Negotiations

The California Republican party kicks off its semi-annual convention Friday in Sacramento. It takes place just blocks from the Capitol, where Gov. Jerry Brown has been meeting with a group of GOP lawmakers to try to win their votes for his budget.

One issue likely to be front-and-center at the convention is the contentious debate over taxes. Several Republican lawmakers have been meeting with Gov. Brown. They’ve been discussing the possibility of an agreement that would put his tax extension measure on the ballot in exchange for pension and spending reforms. It’s a trade many in the party strongly oppose, including conservative blogger Jon Fleischman .

“To sit here and horse trade bad policy for good policy politically creates voter cynicism,” Fleischman said. “It certainly creates cynicism among republicans and it undercuts the ability in 2012 to move forward in 2012 with real substantive reforms.”

A group called the California Republican Assembly has introduced a resolution that calls any lawmaker who votes for the Governor’s budget a traitor. Former GOP Assemblyman Roger Niello said that’s a bad idea. He was censured by the party for voting for taxes in 2009. He says unlike Fleischman, he supports the group of Republicans trying to negotiate a deal.

“In a blue state we’re going to get these things through the kind of political maneuvering that he and others in the party seem to be uncomfortable with but I’ve got my eye on the end prize which I think is more important,” Niello said.

The convention will feature speeches by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour – a possible GOP Presidential candidate and former UN Ambassador John Bolton. Lawmakers are also on call over the weekend for possible budget action.

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