Budget Talks Break Down After GOP Releases List of Demands
State budget talks between Republican legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) stalled over the weekend, after GOP members released a list of 53 budget-related proposals, the Sacramento Bee reports (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 3/26).
Last week, the governor signed 13 measures to reduce California's deficit by $11.2 billion through cuts to health care services and other program changes. The state faces a $26.6 billion budget deficit over 18 months.
Brown also is trying to advance a plan to let voters in June decide on a measure to extend certain taxes. However, Brown has faced difficulty obtaining GOP support for the tax plan (California Healthline, 3/25).
GOP List Details
In their seven-page list released on Friday, GOP lawmakers outline several policy changes they say need to be implemented before they voice support forÂ Brown's budget.
Items on the list include:
- A request that the governor drop his plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies (Goldmacher/York, Los Angeles Times, 3/26);
- Far-reaching pension changes;
- Regulatory rollbacks;
- A state spending cap; and
- Demands for additional budget cuts (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 3/25).
According to the document, GOP members favor an 18-month tax extension, instead ofÂ the five-year extension that Brown is seeking.
After Republicans presented the list, Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) said Republicans and Democrats are now more divided.
Perez said, "I think this takes us clearly to a point where we will quickly have to decide whether or not to pursue solutions that do not require Republican votes" (Sacramento Bee, 3/26).
On Friday, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he was ready to "pull the plug" on negotiations with Republicans (Buchanan/Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/26).
Meanwhile, Brown and other Democrats are considering alternatives such as putting the tax extension measure on the ballot with a simple majority legislative vote or holding a ballot initiative campaign on the tax issue this fall (Sacramento Bee, 3/26).
In addition, Democrats believe that a spending cap would hurt the state's ability to pay for future expenses, such as expected increased demands for health care services (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/27).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of state budget negotiations are provided below.
- "Governor Brown's Budget Ultimatum Falters" (Myers, "The California Report," KQED, 3/25).
- "State Budget Negotiations Drag On" ("The California Report," KQED, 3/25).