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Jerry Brown hints election may be possible without Republican support

March 21, 2011 | 10:23 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown said Monday that he was determined to allow California voters to vote on his budget plan -- even if he failed to garner Republican support for his special election.

Speaking before the California Labor Federation in a hotel ballroom near the Capitol on Monday, Brown criticized Republicans for holding up his election plans in the Legislature. "They think they can say, 'No, you have no right to vote.' And that's wrong," he said of GOP lawmakers. "We will vote no matter what anybody says across the street."

Brown needs support from two-thirds majorities of each legislative house to put billions of dollars in vehicle, income and sales tax extensions before voters -- support that he has thus far failed to secure.

When asked whether he meant he was prepared to try to find a legal loophole that would circumvent the two-thirds requirement, Brown remained coy.

"I'm not prepared to cease negotiating in good faith ... and so far, I remain hopeful," he said.

Brown did not want to discuss specific election scenarios without any Republican support,saying that his talks with GOP lawmakers continue: "I'm not prepared to even contemplate a Plan B tonight."

But Brown's frustration with Republicans has clearly grown in recent days. Some Democratic lawmakers say that with the deadline to call a June election fast approaching, the governor may have to find a partisan path. For now, at least, Brown says he is committed to trying to broker a compromise.

"I'm going to stay on a conciliatory path as long as I can stay on a conciliatory path," he said.

At one point, Brown complained that Republicans did not want to support taxes -- or even allow voters to weigh in on taxes -- and they did not support many of the spending cuts he proposed.

"If you're not going to do anything, why do you take a paycheck?" Brown asked, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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