California Governor Brown says budget vote this week

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 14, 2011 2:29 AM
California Governor Brown says budget vote this week

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California lawmakers will vote within days on a state budget, Governor Jerry Brown said in an Internet video posted as the Legislature's deadline for approving a spending plan looms.

"This Wednesday, the budget will be voted on one way or the other," the Democratic governor said in the video posted on Sunday in an effort to increase pressure on lawmakers to act.

Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature remain split over taxes ahead of their June 15th deadline for approving a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning on July 1.

Brown has been trying to press Republicans, whose votes he needs for his budget plan to agree to its most critical element -- an extension of temporary tax increases that expire this year.

Revenue from the extensions would, along with spending cuts and other measures, be used to fill the state government's budget gap of about $10 billion.

Republicans in the Legislature's minority have been opposing tax extensions, which Brown wants voters to ultimately ratify, an idea some Democrats in the Legislature have criticized in light of weak voter support for the planned extensions.

In the video, Brown said Republican demands for a spending cap and for overhauling the state's public pensions and regulations could be part of a budget agreement if it also includes tax extensions and a ballot measure for them.

Four Republicans who have been in budget talks with Brown released a statement on Monday that said they believe proposals on taxes should go to voters -- and that a spending cap and a pension overhaul should also be put to them.

The statement said Democrats in the Legislature were opposed to that and are seeking to extend taxes temporarily until there would be a special election.

"It is clear now, as it has always been, that the only impediment to resolving this budget crisis and putting the tax question before the voters as the Governor has committed to, are the Democrats and their special interest allies," the statement said.

The state controller has said he would dock lawmakers' pay under terms of a law approved by voters last year if they fail to meet their budget deadline.

(Reporting by Jim Christie; Editing by Jan Paschal)