Phil Matier: Gov. Brown’s Camp Resorts To Name-Calling In Budget Battle

SACRAMENTO (KCBS/AP) – Mudslinging isn’t all that uncommon in politics, but what about name-calling? That’s the latest development in California’s budget stalemate, with Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief spokesperson, in a recent interview with a Southern California radio station, painting a less-than-flattering picture of legislative Republicans.

During an on-air appearance last Friday on KPCC, Gil Duran said Republican lawmakers were “basically moronic.”

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier:

Does this illustrate a growing sense of frustration as lawmakers inch ever closer to the end of California’s fiscal year?

“Yeah, it also illustrates that the Brown Administration is finally just tossing in the towel as far as its efforts to get four Republicans to cross over and say yes to extending the sales and vehicle tax and having voters have a say in continuing that for some time,” said KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier.

“So it’s basically, on Friday, it started just to change and you know Republicans have gotten counted out. And now it’s up to, it looks like it’s going to be up to Jerry and his fellow Democrats to craft out something in the next couple of days and even that promises not to be too pretty.”

As the end of California’s fiscal year approaches this week, there’s added urgency to a deadline that is usually ignored.

Lawmakers face significant new pressures, as well as opportunities, as they seek to close California’s remaining $9.6 billion deficit and get a budget in place by July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

Proposition 25, approved last fall, forces lawmakers to go without pay for each day they fail to pass a balanced budget.

Democrats also can now pass a budget without GOP votes, although they still need a two-thirds majority to raise taxes or put a tax measure on the ballot, as Gov. Brown hopes.

Brown negotiated with Democratic leaders over the weekend after months of talks with Republicans failed to yield a deal.

“You try to negotiate for a while but if (Republicans) have sort of taken the no, no, no stance and it’s primarily on, no matter what they negotiate they say no to any type of taxes, eventually you just sort of take them off the sidelines,” Matier continued. “You just say you’re off the field, you’re in the bleachers and we’re going to run this thing on a simple majority vote. We’re not going to get taxes but we’re going to be doing everything else.”

“It’s risky for the Republicans because they can make themselves more irrelevant,” Matier reasoned, “but it’s really dangerous for the Democrats because they’re sitting there and going, okay, how much do we cut and where are we going to cut it and there’s a big gap between what the governor wants done because of what he’s promised and what the Democrats in their individual constituencies are willing to do?”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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