State Lawmakers Consider Special Election For Gov. Brown’s Budget

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California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California State Capitol in Sacramento (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Sovern Nation
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – Work was to resume Monday in Sacramento, where Gov. Jerry Brown was expected to give budget negotiators more details about his plan to shift some state services to local governments to help close California’s $26 billion deficit.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

A March 10 deadline loomed for lawmakers considering whether to put Brown’s tax extension plan before voters in a June special election.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), vice chair of the joint budget conference committee, warned that no quick decision would be forthcoming, in part because his committee needed to review and possibly alter the language submitted by the governor’s office on realignment, the process of moving programs from state control to local control.

Still, Leno was confident that there would be bipartisan support for a special election. Specifically, he believed that at least two Republicans in each house would agree to put Brown’s tax extension plan before voters by the deadline.

“I think that there will be the necessary, reasonable Republicans so that they can join Democrats to reach the two-thirds majority threshold vote to get half of the governor’s proposed budget to the ballot and that would be the revenue side of it,” said Leno.

He described extension of three expiring tax increases as essential to California’s budget.

“Balancing a budget as complex as California’s is really second grader arithmetic. It’s addition and subtraction. And if you take either one off the table, you can’t do your job.”

Fellow committee member, Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) had a different outlook, suggesting that even if Republicans got the pension reform, regulatory changes and other programs they want, they would not agree to ask voters to approve more taxes.

“That’s not the way to fix government. And I’ve argued that raising taxes to fund this deficit simply funds what’s broken.”

He maintained that the budget would have to be balanced through cuts alone.

“It cannot be in the form of, which has been historic around here, the state dumps its problems on local government. And then if we’re going to then say by 55% you solve the problem because it’s your program now.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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