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When Governor Jerry Brown first proposed his plan of tax extensions and budget cuts to close California’s $26 billion shortfall, he set the deadline for the proposal to pass the Legislature for March 10 so the tax extension piece could be put before voters in a referendum in June. The deadline has passed; however, it appears the Legislature will be taking up the proposals early next week. Both houses are on-call this weekend as talks continue.
As we reported last week, five Senate Republicans – Senators Berryhill, Blakeslee, Canella, Emmerson and Harman –developed a plan and have continued talks with Governor Brown this week. The details of the Republican group’s plan are unknown but are reportedly said to include a permanent spending cap, pension reform and some element aimed at reducing regulations on businesses in the state. To put the tax extensions on the ballot, Governor Brown must obtain 2 Republican votes in the Senate and the Assembly. If the Governor comes to an agreement with the five GOP members of the Senate, it goes without saying he would have the two votes in the Senate. However, the wildcard then becomes the Assembly. Details of the Senate Republican package have not been released to the Assembly Republicans and likely will not be until the last minute. It is nearly impossible for the Governor to count two aye votes in the Assembly, given they have no idea what they would be voting for at this time.