On politics in the Golden State

« Previous Post | PolitiCal Home | Next Post »

California budget: Talks between Brown, GOP break down -- again

March 29, 2011 |  4:03 pm

One of the remaining Republican lawmakers haggling with Gov. Jerry Brown over a special election on taxes characterized the talks as “done” after the latest breakdown between the two sides.

“We gave it our best. We’re very disappointed. It’s done,” said Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet).

Brown spokesman Gil Duran declined to comment on the status of negotiations.

Emmerson’s declaration comes after days of intense bipartisan negotiations in the Capitol. Talks involving business groups and union leaders as well as Brown and GOP lawmakers have moved in fits and starts for weeks. Impasses have been declared before. It was unclear whether this latest breakdown would last.

But there were several major disagreements that could not be overcome, Emmerson said. One was how to impose a cap on state spending. Another was the amount of time voters would be asked to renew billions in temporary taxes on income, sales and vehicles in a June election. Brown wants to extend the taxes for five years. Republicans wanted taxes for just three years. The third problem area was a GOP demand to place a change in a business tax formula before voters. Brown wants the Legislature to change the formula.

Emmerson called Brown a “very honorable adversary” in negotiations, but said the divide between them could not be bridged even though much progress had been made on changes to state regulations and pensions.

“I’m very disappointed,” Emmerson said.

Over the weekend, the group of Republicans negotiating with the Brown administration narrowed from five to three –- with Sens. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) and Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) joining Emmerson in the latest round of negotiations.

Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga), who had been in talks with Brown as recently as Friday, was no longer actively engaged. “The administration has not contacted me,” he said.

Conservative groups also tried Tuesday to step up pressure on Republicans to not cut a deal, launching a radio ad in Cannella and Berryhill’s districts.

“We must hold our legislators accountable,” the ad states. “They are the only thing standing between us and a new, huge tax increase.”

Listen to the ad below.

-- Anthony York and Shane Goldmacher