It looks like the chances of a state budget deal have taken a turn for the worse.
When the entire Senate Republican caucus holds a news conference in front of the Democratic governor’s office, that’s not usually a sign of progress. Several lawmakers took to the podium to make the same point – that contrary to statements from Governor Jerry Brown, Republicans are NOT blocking a special election on tax extensions.
Senator Anthony Cannella said, “I’m here today to state definitively that there are votes to put this tax measure before the people of California out of the Senate – as long as they also get to vote on good government reforms.”
Specifically, a spending cap and changes to the state’s pension and regulatory systems. Senator Bob Huff says don’t blame the GOP for the lack of a budget deal. “The public unions and the governor have become the problem in this, not the Republicans,” said Huff.
But Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg disagreed. “It really gets old to hear the same old tired rhetoric that, by the way, isn’t true,” he said.
Steinberg says the snag isn’t with the GOP proposals. It’s with Republicans’ opposition to temporarily extending taxes until voters can decide whether to keep them.
“We too want to make a deal,” said Steinberg. “The governor wants to make a deal. But it must include the resources and the revenue for schools and our men and women in uniform.”
The governor’s office got into the act too. Press Secretary Gil Duran issued a statement saying Republicans were “grandstanding without solving problems.” The governor himself appeared at an event in San Francisco … and said he’s still talking with Republicans in hopes of reaching a deal.