Budget negotiations have moved at breakneck speed since Brown took office, but Monday's stall indicates that lawmakers and the governor could face a long, hard fight.
Brown said outstanding issues - including teacher seniority in schools - were holding up negotiations. He did not elaborate.
But later in the day, five Republican state senators sent Brown a letter that said that although they embraced the governor's call to bring him ideas for structural reforms in the state that could be part of a compromise for a budget, the process was stalled.
"Although it is clear that you engaged in our conversations seriously, it appears we have reached an impasse in our discussions about how to move the state forward," stated the letter signed by Republican Sens. Tom Berryhill of Modesto, Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo, Anthony Cannella of Ceres (Stanislaus County), Bill Emmerson of Hemet (Riverside County) and Tom Harman of Huntington Beach.
All have declined to join other Republican lawmakers in a written agreement to oppose Brown's plan to place a tax measure before voters. Two other Republicans in the Senate - Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga (San Bernardino County), the leader of that caucus, and Bob Huff of Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), the highest ranking member of the budget committee - declined to sign on.
The five Republicans offered their own ideas for significant changes, including a spending cap, pension reform, changes to existing regulations, ending hiring restrictions and tax reform. They also want to keep redevelopment agencies and tax enterprise zones, which Brown has proposed eliminating.
"We were therefore disappointed to find that our reforms were either rejected or so watered down as to have no real effect on future spending or the economy," the letter states. "We have therefore concluded that you are unable to compel other stakeholders to accept real reforms."
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
California is beset, once again, with the only thing that ever seems to stand in the way of resolving its endless fiscal crises: the recalcitrant Republican who won't sign on to the latest Big Government proposal to raise taxes. Really, that's all anyone wants to talk about - how a "handful" of "hard right" "extremists" (is there any other kind) are "holding the state hostage" while strangling kittens and unicorns. The latest outrage? Five GOP legislators have sent Gov. Brown a letter - a letter, I tell you! - saying they don't want to sign on to his debt & taxes plan to "reform" state government by not shrinking it and not reforming the pension system.
No word from Brown on why Republican representatives should sell out their constituents, party and philosophy just to satisfy the continued Big Government schemes of today's progressive left. Indeed, he doesn't even need GOP votes. State Dems never tire of bragging about how total their electorale dominance of the state is. State media never tires of describing GOP legislators with words like "powerless" and "negligible" and "prostrate." Yet now we're supposed to believe liberals can't go forward without one or two Republican votes in favor of their "plan" to have Californians vote to increase taxes on themselves? A plan that didn't work when it was tried two years ago? With the acquiescence of three dumb Republican legislators who promptly lost their political careers?
The GOP may be the stupid party,but it's not that stupid. I hope.