Brown Calls for Lawmakers To Delay Votes on Budget Proposal
On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) asked lawmakers to delay voting on his budget proposal to allow more time for negotiations, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Brown initially set today as the deadline to approve his budget plan so his tax extension proposal could go before voters in a June special election.
According to the Contra Costa Times, the delay could signal that the governor is making progress in talks with five Republican senators who declared an impasse in negotiations earlier this week. The five senators are:
- Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto);
- Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo);
- Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres);
- Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet); and
- Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 3/9).
Gil Duran, a spokesperson for Brown, did not indicate how long the budget votes would be delayed (Lin, AP/Ventura County Star, 3/9).
Brown has proposed $12.5 billion in spending cuts and $12 billion in temporary tax extensions to help close a $26.6 billion budget shortfall over 18 months. His plan calls for more than $6 billion in cuts to health care and welfare-to-work services for low-income residents.
On Monday, the five GOP senators announced that budget negotiations had broken down (California Healthline, 3/9). They also sent a letter outlining their proposed policy changes, such as scaled-back pensions for public workers, less-stringent business regulations and further restrictions on state spending (Mishak/Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
Brown is seeking a two-thirds vote in the Assembly and Senate to place his tax measure on a June ballot. Achieving a two-thirds majority would require the support of at least two Republicans in each house of the Legislature.
Implications of the Delay
Brown's decision to postpone votes on his budget plan makes it unlikely that the state will hold a special election on the tax extension issue on June 7. Each week that lawmakers do not approve the budget plan pushes the special election later into June.
If voters do not approve the tax extension measure by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, current sales and vehicle tax rates will decrease.
However, it is possible that Democrats could forgo a special election and pursue legislation to replace the revenue that the tax extensions would have generated.
Brown has said that he might attempt to fill such a tax revenue gap by implementing deeper cuts to health and social service programs (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/10).
A Stockton Record editorial states that Brown "has not one of the four Republican votes he needs in the Legislature for an election on whether to extend existing tax rates for five years." The editorial adds, "Clearly the minority party can wield a lot of power when a two-thirds legislative vote is needed" (Stockton Record, 3/10).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage on the delayed budget vote are provided below.
- "Brown's Countdown: Deadline To Be Missed" (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 3/9).
- "Governor Brown Asks To Delay Budget Vote To Allow for More Negotiation" (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 3/9).