California Republicans claim budget impasse with Gov. Brown

The Sacramento BeeMarch 8, 2011 

Gov. Jerry Brown's prospects of reaching a budget deal by his deadline this week dimmed markedly Monday when a quintet of Republicans with whom he'd been negotiating declared an impasse.

The GOP senators for the first time released a list of demands – covering pensions, spending restrictions and education reforms, among other things – and said the Democratic governor and his legislative allies were unable to fulfill them.

"We accepted your invitation to bring you our ideas on important structural reforms and willingly took to heart your admonition 'to get out of our comfort zone,' " the Republican senators state in a letter to the Democratic governor. "Although it is clear that you engaged in our conversations seriously, it appears we have reached an impasse in our discussions about how to move the state forward."

Brown needs at least two Republican votes in each house to achieve a two-thirds majority necessary to ask voters to extend for five years sales, income and vehicle tax increases imposed in 2009. He had set a deadline this week in order to schedule a June 7 election, less than a month before the new fiscal year arrives July 1.

Monday's development imperils that plan.

Brown, facing a $26.6 billion budget deficit and speaking to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors on Monday, acknowledged that he might not reach a deal by Thursday, his self-imposed deadline.

"I think it might take a few more days than that at the rate we're going," he said.

"If you know any Republican," Brown said, "tell them that he or she should vote to give the people a voice."

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