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Assembly GOP leader says Republicans won’t put taxes on ballot

January 10, 2011 |  2:00 pm

The linchpin of Gov. Jerry Brown's budget plan is a June special election in which voters would be asked to extend temporary tax increases on income, purchases and vehicles that are set to expire this year. Placing such a measure on the ballot would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, meaning Republican votes are needed.

Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway of Tulare says her caucus won't provide any. "Assembly Republicans stand united as the last line of defense for California taxpayers," she said in a statement. "There are not votes in the Assembly Republican Caucus to place the same tax increases that voters overwhelmingly rejected less than two years ago back on the ballot."

If Conway is right, things just got trickier for Brown. His only alternative might be to take advantage of a legal loophole that some Capitol attorneys believe allows Democrats to step around the two-thirds vote requirement in this particular case. But it's the kind of maneuvering that sours voters on Sacramento, and could ultimately hurt the measure's chances.

Asked Monday morning whether he believes the tax measure can be put on the ballot without support of two-thirds of the Legislature, Brown was noncommittal. "I'm not going to offer that opinion today," he said. "I think this will be much better if this is a bipartisan effort."

-- Evan Halper in Sacramento


Interactive: Try your hand at balancing the state budget

Document: Complete text of Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget