Democratic Lawmakers, Brown Press for Action on State Budget
On Monday, DemocraticÂ leaders in the California Legislature said they are determined to finish passing state budget legislation this week and place a measure on a June ballot to let voters decide whether to extend taxes temporarily, the Sacramento Bee's "Capitol Alert" reports (Siders/Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 3/21).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Assembly John PÃ©rez (D-Los Angeles) met with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Monday (Thompson, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/21).
Steinberg said action on the governor's tax extension proposal needs to happen within days, not weeks. He added that June 14, instead of June 7, is emerging as the most likely date for a special election ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 3/21).
On Monday night, Brown stumped for his budget plan at a meeting of labor activists at their 2011 Joint Legislative Conference (Harmon, Contra Costa Times, 3/22).
In an effort to close the state's $26.6 billion deficit over 18 months, Brown is seeking a June Â special election to have voters decide whether to temporarily extend personal income, sales and vehicle taxes. To hold the special election, two Republicans in each chamber would need to voteÂ in favor ofÂ it.
Last week, lawmakers did agree to make about $14 billion in cuts to health and human services and other programs (California Healthline, 3/21).
Reaching Out to GOP
The governor has failed so far to secure enough GOP support to ask voters to extend higher taxes on vehicles, sales and income. Republicans say they want greater reductions in state employee pensions, a long-term spending cap and regulatory changes to help businesses.
Steinberg said he has planned meetings with Senate GOP leaders. He indicated that if Republicans continue to oppose the special election, there might be alternatives, but he did not specify what those might include ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 3/21).
Meanwhile, Brown went on YouTube to appeal directly to California voters concerning the tax issue. He said he has seen progress on the state budget, but now the decision must be made either to extend taxes or "double up on our cuts" (Marinucci, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/22).
The governor said California's budget situation was "too big, too irreversible a matter" to prevent voters from participating (Howard, Capitol Weekly, 3/21).
Poll Gauges Support for Governor
Meanwhile, a new Field Poll shows that the number of California voters who approve of the governor's performance outnumber those who disapprove by more than two to one.
According to the poll,Â roughly one in three respondents do not have an opinion on the issue (Siders, Sacramento Bee, 3/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.