(updated 8:07 p.m.) Gov. Brown releases video explaining his decision)
Gov. Jerry Brown's announcement Tuesday that he had halted budget negotiations because of Republican unwillingness to place his proposed tax extensions on the ballot won't come as good news to who have been writing letters to their state legislators in an effort to persuade them to support those extensions and put them to a vote of the public.
Democrats have approved placing the extensions on the ballot, but Republicans in Sacramento have been digging in their heels.
The governor issued a statement Tuesday afternoon expressing his frustration, saying: "Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican Party regarding our state’s massive deficit."
On March 24, Brown signed several bills that would reduce the state’s budget by $11 billion. He had hoped to move forward with his plan and garner support from the Legislature for an additional $12.5 billion in spending cuts and $12 billion in temporary tax extensions.
“The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California," Brown's statement said. "Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people.
“Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever-changing list of collateral demands.”
Some of those demands were mentioned in a letter that the governor sent to state Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton on Friday. In part the letter said:
“…I was surprised and frankly disappointed that you came today with a very long list of demands (53 separate proposals), many of which are new and have nothing to do with the budget… your list of demands—if met— would undermine my entire budget proposal by undoing major elements and extending the taxes for only 18 months.”
In halting negotiations, Brown said he plans to focus his efforts in the coming weeks on speaking with Californians to find “honest and real solutions” to the budget crisis.
A full copy of the letter sent to Dutton is in the PDF file under the photo to the right.