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KCBS In Depth: The State Budget Mess

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

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

KCBS In Depth
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — California Governor Jerry Brown halted talks last week with Republican lawmakers over the state budget, citing a long list of demands as being too much, too late in the process.

The governor was trying to negotiate with the GOP to hold a special election in June that would have allowed voters to decide on whether to extend currently existing taxes in the state.

Brown said now, he will take his message to the people, as he plans to travel across the state to try to find solutions to solve the multi-billion dollar deficit.

KCBS In Depth: An Interview With State Senator Mark Leno:

State Senator Mark Leno serves as chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee. He said there are a number of issues holding back the process.

“These two-thirds vote thresholds bind us and tie us into knots. Voters last November passed Proposition 25, which lowers the threshold for the legislature to pass the budget to a simple majority,” he said. “But where the governor is struggling is that the (state) constitution still requires a two-thirds majority, even to place a revenue measure or any other type of constitutional amendment on the ballot.”

Leno said he is not particularly optimistic that Governor Brown’s tax plan will get on the ballot at all this year, as there are several problems with putting it to the voters in November.

“It opens up the door for everyone and anyone to scurry very quickly and any special interest could place things on the ballot. There are risks,” said Leno. “As the governor said some weeks ago, if we didn’t get to a June ballot, there could be a war of all against all in November.”

Leno said that the most likely case is an all-cuts budget, which “looms greater every hour and every day that passes.”

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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