Governor Calls Off Budget Talks With Republican Legislators
On Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) suspended budget negotiations with Republicans lawmakers, fueling uncertainty about how California will reconcile its remaining deficit, the Sacramento Bee reports.
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 (Yamamura, Sacramento Bee, 3/30).
The governor initially planned to close the remaining budget gap by holding a June special election that would allow voters to decide whether to extend some temporary tax increases (Goldmacher/York, Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
However, GOP lawmakers refused to support Brown's tax extension effort. The governor needs the support of at least two Republicans from each house of the Legislature to obtain the two-thirds majority necessary to place the issue on a June ballot.
Tension Between Brown, Republicans
On Friday, GOP lawmakers released a list of 53 policy proposals they said would need to be addressed before they could support Brown's budget plan.
The governor then sent a letter to Republicans stating that he was "very surprised (and frankly, disappointed)" by the list of demands (Sacramento Bee, 3/30).
On Tuesday, Brown said he had abandoned efforts to garner GOP support for the tax measure (Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
The halting of budget talks casts doubt on whether lawmakers will be able to close the state's remaining $15.4 billion deficit before the new fiscal year begins in July.
Brown has provided no indications about how he plans to move forward. The governor previously mentioned the possibility of holding a signature drive for a November ballot initiative (Sacramento Bee, 3/30).
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) did notÂ offer details about how the Legislature will proceed, but said Democrats will "use the power of our majority" (Los Angeles Times, 3/30).
Legislators have until June 15 to approve a balanced budget plan (Nagourney, New York Times, 3/29).
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer (D) has said that the state might need to issue IOUs if lawmakers fail to resolve the budget situation by the fall (Los Angeles Times, 3/30).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.