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Brown Weighs New Budget Strategy

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

With a June election officially dead, Governor Brown is readying his Plan B.  He's still looking for four GOP votes in the legislature …

Brown: "Straight up for a tax extension, subject to a vote of the people.  Yes. That's not even negotiable."

…but the real question is, how will he bridge the gap between the new fiscal year in July and an election that wouldn't come 'til fall?

Brown: "That's something you will find out in my May Revision.  I will give you a balanced budget in May.  It will probably have alternatives."

Alternatives could include an all-cuts budget or extending taxes until the election takes place.  But that would take Republican votes, and the governor hasn't found any yet.  Tuesday, he complained Republicans have gone "on strike" and refused to participate in the budget process.  That didn't sit well with GOP Senator Doug LaMalfa, who says his party is pushing pension, regulatory and spending reforms.

LaMalfa: "Republicans have been standing for these because they're good solutions for California, not just to be stubborn - and certainly not because the governor is saying we're on strike.  That's kind of ridiculous."

Still, some Republicans are keeping their options open - including Senator Tom Berryhill, who's spent a lot of time negotiating with Brown.  Berryhill says budget talks right now are "nowhere" - but…

Berryhill: "Having said that, I don't know how much stomach everybody has for an all-cuts budget here.  We'll see.  And I'm still hopeful that maybe we'll come up with some type of a solution and hopefully, calm minds will prevail."

Berryhill says he's been around the Capitol long enough to see rabbits get pulled out of hats.  He's hoping that'll happen here, too.

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