Brown, Democratic Lawmakers Ponder Next Steps on Budget
In the wake of failed budget negotiations, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and Democratic legislators are considering alternative ways to close California's budget deficit, the Sacramento Bee reports (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/31).
Last week, Brown signed numerous bills to reduce state spending by $11.2 billion. The measures included deep cuts to several health programs and funding shifts that diverted money away from mental health and childhood development programs.
The governor initially planned to close the remaining $15.4 billion budget gap by putting a tax extension measure before voters in a June special election. However, GOP lawmakers refused to provide the necessary votes to put the tax measure on a ballot (California Healthline, 3/30).
Earlier this week, Brown and Democratic lawmakers abandoned their efforts to win Republican support for a June special election.
Other strategies that Brown could pursue to close the deficit include:
- Placing the tax issue on a ballot with a majority vote of the Legislature, thus avoiding the need for GOP votes;
- PersuadingÂ lawmakers to pass legislationÂ to extend taxes;
- Gathering signatures for a NovemberÂ ballot measureÂ on the tax issue;
- Imposing deeper cuts on various programs and services; or
- Pursuing a mix of cuts, outside funds and accounting gimmicks (Sacramento Bee, 3/31).
Regardless of how the governor chooses to proceed, Republicans likely would have little leverage in future budget maneuvers, according to the Los Angeles Times (Halper/Mishak, Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
On Wednesday, KQED's "California Report" reported on Brown's decision to call off budget negotiations with Republican legislators ("California Report," KQED, 3/30).
Headlines and links to editorials on the suspension of budget negotiations are provided below.
- "California Budget Breakdown" (Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
- "Impasse Aside, Democrats Have Dented Deficit" (Sacramento Bee, 3/31)
- "What Now for the State Budget?" (San Francisco Chronicle, 3/31).