Jerry Brown hopes GOP agrees to tax extension

March 17, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lawmakers cut and slash billions out of the state budget, the next question is whether Republicans will go along with Gov. Jerry Brown's tax extension. There is a lot of push-back about putting that plan on the June ballot.

As lawmakers plow through another $6 billion to $7 billion in budget cuts, it's clear the proposal to put Brown's tax extensions on the June ballot will be one of the last bills considered. Even some Republicans find the spending cuts hard to swallow.

"To me it's very simple. If you're not for cutting, you're not for giving people the right to extend taxes, you might as well have an empty seat," St. Sen. President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said.

But for Republicans, voting to put the tax extensions on the ballot is a tough decision. The last time Republicans voted for taxes in 2009, a Southern California radio station put their heads on sticks via a website and the Republican convention censured them. The next convention is this weekend and there's a Tea Party resolution to label anyone who agrees to the special election taxes as a traitor. An Influential conservative blogger said threats don't really carry that much weight.

"The reality is they're not voting for taxes because taxes are bad policy. We're in a recession," blogger Jon Fleischman said.

But Brown said the other day all the outside pressure on Republican lawmakers makes it hard to negotiate.

"When it becomes a situation in America where letting people vote becomes an act of terrorism, we're in a very serious situation," he said.

There is still a splinter group of 5 Republican senators trying to get major government reforms in exchange for their 'yes' vote on the special election -- a move some GOP Senators say is what the party should be about.

"If they negotiate to get reforms and solutions and choices on the ballot, that present a wider perspective of the GOP, they're no traitor in my book," Republican radio show host Eric Hogue said. "The Republican Party needs to be more than the party of no."

Because of a new voter-approved law, lawmakers can now pass budgets based on simple majority with no Republican votes. It is being used this year for various parts of the spending plan. Republicans are bating Democrats to use this method to call that special election. In the meantime, lawmakers are done for the day and are on call through the weekend, they are back on Monday morning to tackle the last four remaining bills after acting on 16 of them earlier this week.


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