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California budget: Brown's office calls GOP demands a 'hodgepodge' that complicates talks

March 25, 2011 |  7:17 pm

Budget negotiations between Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican lawmakers grew testy Friday as the governor accused them of further complicating talks with dozens of new demands.

Republicans issued an expanded list of requests to Brown on Friday – a list they characterized as “a package of reforms” but that Brown’s office dismissed as “a hodgepodge” of ideas that threatened to move the two sides further from a budget agreement.

“This is basically trying to ram through an agenda that does not reflect the fact that we have a Democratic governor, and Democratic majorities in both houses of the Legislature. So we’re asking them to narrow the scope, be reasonable and move forward on what is possible,” said Brown spokesman Gil Duran.

On Friday evening, Gareth Elliot, one of Brown’s top legislative liaisons, delivered a letter to the office of Senate minority leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) asking that the talks stay focused on changes to the pension system, a cap on state spending and regulatory changes.

Duran said a whole host of other issues was introduced by Dutton on Friday, including a proposed change to the date of the state’s presidential primary.

“This was a list of everything they wish they could have,” Duran said.

Meanwhile, a gaggle of top Senate Republican aides, including the chiefs of staff for Sens. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) and Dutton, huddled in the office of Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) to decide how to proceed.

All refused any immediate comment, as did Dutton.

-- Anthony York and Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

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