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Mixed Message in Latest Budget Poll



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

So try to figure this one out: Californians support the governor's budget plan.  They support his call for a special election.  But they don't support the governor's proposed tax extensions, which are part of his budget plan and would be voted on at that special election.  Brown chose to focus on his most favorable result when asked his opinion of the opinion poll.

Brown: "I saw that poll.  A little hard to interpret.  But one thing we know is there's massive support for letting the people decide and asking the people their views.  It's time for a check-in."

Even before the poll, Democratic lawmakers and interest groups had wanted the governor to skip the special election and pass the tax extensions directly.  But Brown still says he's committed to getting voter approval - as he promised during his campaign.

 

BUDGET PROGRESS?

The constitutional deadline for the legislature to pass a budget is now just two weeks away - and California Governor Jerry Brown says he's "close" to a deal with a handful of Republican lawmakers.

Brown: "But you know, an inch can be a mile in this business.  So I don't want to say - so we're not there yet.  Definitely, there's some very tough issues - pensions, maybe cap, maybe not as much.  And then certain regulatory questions that are still being hammered out."

But the governor is avoiding any public discussion on the details.  Here's what he told reporters in Sacramento Wednesday when asked about what kind of spending cap he'd support:

Brown: "That's something that is in very delicate negotiations right now and I'm not gonna upset the apple cart by opining on one term or another."

Brown doesn't seem as optimistic about his proposal to eliminate the state's more than 400 redevelopment agencies.  He's calling that particular subject "a tall hill."

 

REALIGNMENT FUNDING HAS COUNTIES NERVOUS

The lobbying group that represents California's 58 counties is pushing with increased urgency for Governor Brown's realignment plan.

Paul McIntosh heads the California State Association of Counties.  He says the governor's plan is the best option - especially after the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring the state to reduce overcrowding in its prisons.

But McIntosh says it's critical that lawmakers agree to a special election so voters can approve a measure that guarantees state tax dollars for realignment.

McIntosh: "We are nervous about the lack of funding, or funding not being there - especially the constitutional guarantee.  It's not just the funding, but it's protections within a constitutional amendment that we also need to have to make these programs work effectively and not injure our counties over time."

Under the governor's plan, the state would shift responsibility for tens of thousands of prisoners to counties.  Many Republicans oppose that plan because they believe it would put dangerous criminals back on the streets.

Governor Brown attended a conference of county officials Wednesday in Sacramento.

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