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Jerry Brown calls for more time to negotiate budget deal with Republicans [Updated]

March 9, 2011 |  4:52 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown asked Democratic leaders in the Legislature on Wednesday to delay a vote on his budget plan as he continues to negotiate with five Republicans who have broken from their leadership to try to broker a compromise.

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said in a statement that the governor has asked the Senate and Assembly leaders "to temporarily delay any vote on the budget in order to allow more time to find common ground and to put the state’s finances back in balance.”

Brown originally asked lawmakers to vote on his spending plan, which includes billions in tax extensions, by March 10.

The announcement comes as Brown and his staff continue to meet with Sens. Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet), Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres), Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) and Tom  Berryhill (R-Modesto).

[Updated: 4:53 p.m.] Joe Justin, a spokesman for Emmerson who is serving as a spokesman for the group of Senators who are calling themselves the "Reform Five" said Wednesday, "We're ready to work.  Our reforms, including a hard spending cap, meaningful pension reforms, and job creation will fix the underlying structural probllems that contribute to our chronic spending, budget, and economic problems.

Duran said there were ongoing budget talks but refused to discuss details of who was involved or what issues were being discussed. Duran said the administration thought discussing details of those meetings publicly could hinder negotiations, characterizing the talks as “very sensitive.”

Brown wants lawmakers to extend billions in sales, vehicle and income taxes for five years to help bridge the state’s $26.6-billion budget gap. He wants voters to weigh in on those taxes before the new fiscal year begins  July 1.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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