Monday, March 14, 2011

California Budget Stalemate Continues

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, negotiations between Governor Jerry Brown and Republican legislators on the state's budget woes have ended without an agreement being reached.

State Sen. Tom Harman (R - Huntington Beach) commented that the sticking points included Brown's insistence that the proposed maintaining of what will otherwise shortly expire tax hikes enacted by the previous administration be for a five year period. The Republicans proposed an eighteen-month extension. Other issues included the Republicans wishing to place additional measures on the special election asking voters to extend the tax hikes, which will be submitted to the people in an election on either June 7 or June 14 of this year, that would impose a hard cap on state spending and modify the pension plans of current state workers.

It is expected that Brown's next move in regard to the state budget will be discussions with the "Big Four," a nickname for the Democratic and Republican heads of the State Senate and Assembly. As the Democrats hold a solid majority in both houses, and as per a voter-approved measure in the last election it takes only a majority to pass the budget, the negotiations with Republicans either by themselves or in conjunction with Democratic legislators are little more than a courtesy.

Referring back to the election, there are reports that as a means to cut expenses incurred by a special election the entirety of the election will be conducted by mailed-in ballots, with no polling places being used or set up. This remains unconfirmed.

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