Politics

Governor Brown remains hopeful for California budget deal

File photo: California Governor Jerry Brown looks on before delivering the State of the State address at the California State Capitol on January 31, 2011 in Sacramento, California.
File photo: California Governor Jerry Brown looks on before delivering the State of the State address at the California State Capitol on January 31, 2011 in Sacramento, California.
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California Governor Jerry Brown this week continues his campaign for Republican support of his tax hike proposal. The governor remains hopeful, even as time runs out to place his measure on the June ballot.

Governor Brown sounds optimistic.

“I see everything as an opportunity here. That’s the idea; crisis – opportunity.”

California faces a $26 billion deficit. Brown’s proposed roughly $12 billion in spending cuts.

He also wants temporary tax hikes extended for five years. That would generate $14 billion next year. Republicans say no to any tax increases.

“Yes, there are some no, no, no folks in the Republican Party," said Brown. "But there’s also some yes, yes, yes Republicans. And we’re waiting to hear from them.”

He declined to identify who they might be in the state legislature. But outside of it, he won important backing from the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce – including its Republican chairman Joe Czyzyk.

Brown’s indicated he may be willing to expand pension reform to win GOP support

“We can certainly take steps in pension reform. We can take steps in regulatory reform," he said after his chamber endorsement last week. "How that all interacts, that will be a matter of working it out in the Legislature.”

The governor needs Republican votes to secure the two-thirds majority in the Legislature he’ll need to place his plan on the June ballot.

Or does he?

Some experts believe that because he wants to extend existing tax increases rather than create new tax hikes, Brown may need only a majority. And Democrats already have that.

“I’ve looked at it. I have not come to a conclusion as yet," Brown said.

He said he’d prefer GOP support.

As he talked up his plan last week, Brown hauled out some Latin – as he’s fond of doing.

“Ignota per indosius," he said. "That means to understand the known by the even more unknown.”

The governor said that means the Legislature shouldn’t fiddle too much with his budget proposal.

“To seek an agreement that is complicated by fashioning an even more complicated agreement has a lot of problems with it.”

One more thing, added the former Jesuit seminarian and veteran negotiator:

“Everything’s important, and nothing’s in stone.”