SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Just before Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state budget with little fanfare last week, Assembly Republicans celebrated at Downtown Ford, standing before cars they said would become cheaper overnight because they blocked tax extensions.
"This is a great day for California," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks. "The death of these taxes is the rebirth of our economy."
If Republicans judge themselves by taxes alone, they scored a victory this year.
But Capitol experts say they also lost for the foreseeable future their best opportunity to reduce pensions, impose a stronger spending cap, or roll back regulations that affect businesses.
"It's up to them going forward if they want to put all of their resources into one issue or spread them between more," said Dan Schnur, a former GOP strategist and director of the Jesse Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California. "Right now, they are a one- issue party in the Legislature."
Under new budget-writing rules, Brown and Democratic lawmakers built a majority-vote spending plan – one that lacked the governance changes sought by Republicans.
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