Budget talks in Sacramento have been declared dead, and the wires are abuzz with posturing for whatever comes next.
From Gov. Jerry Brown:
“Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state’s massive deficit.
“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. 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.
“Let me be clear: I support pension reform, regulatory reform and a spending cap and offered specific and detailed proposals for each of these during our discussions. While we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget. In fact, they sought to worsen the state’s problem by creating a $4 billion hole in the budget.
“One glaring example is the taxation of multinational corporations. My budget plan requires that gigantic corporations be treated the same as individual taxpayers and not be allowed to choose their preferred tax rate.
“This is the so-called single sales factor. The Republicans demand that out-of-state corporations that keep jobs out of California be given a billion dollar tax break that will come from our schoolchildren, public safety and our universities. This I am not willing to do.
“Much is at stake, and in the coming weeks I will focus my efforts on speaking directly to Californians and coming up with honest and real solutions to our budget crisis.
“Attached is my letter to Republican Leader Dutton last Friday that outlines in greater detail my position.”
From state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, who was among the five GOP Senators bargaining with Brown:
“I fully recognize that doing what’s right for my constituents and getting California back on track will entail tough decisions to fundamentally change the way our government works for the people it serves. That’s the reason I joined my colleagues in pushing for pension reform, a hard cap on state spending and measures to spur job creation – all of which we believed would help address the ongoing structural problems that contribute to our state’s persistent multibillion-dollar deficit.
“I appreciate Governor Brown’s willingness to engage on these issues and the progress that was made as a result. However, finding agreement required an equal willingness from the public-employee unions, trial attorneys and other stakeholders to join our effort to get California moving again – a willingness that was stunningly absent from our conversations. As a result of these groups’ refusal to challenge the status quo, it has become clear the governor and legislative Democrats are not in a position to work with us to pass the measures necessary to move California forward.
“Thus, I do not foresee a path to compromise.”
From California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
“Gov. Brown’s balanced approach to solving our state’s budget crisis offered California a much-needed pathway to stability and an end to our long budget nightmare. It’s truly sad that Republican legislators have put their own narrow interests above the needs of our state by blocking a vote of the people on solving our budget crisis. It appears the Republicans were never negotiating in good faith. Their ever-growing list of inflexible demands – most of which had nothing to do with our current budget crisis — frustrated any hope of compromise.
“By refusing to allow a vote of the people on issues that profoundly impact us all, Republicans have completely abdicated their responsibility to their constituents and our state. Instead of governing responsibly, they continue to take their marching orders from out-of-state ideologues and radio talk show hosts. Republicans have shown they are more willing to protect tax handouts for billion-dollar corporations than protect our kids’ schools. Their failure to make any compromises shows how out of touch they’ve become.
“If the Republicans aren’t willing to govern, Gov. Brown and the Democrats must do so without them. There’s simply too much at stake. We urge Gov. Brown to move forward with a fair budget that saves our schools, public safety and other vital services from even deeper, more devastating cuts.”
From state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, another of those five GOP senators:
“Recent polling clearly shows Republican reforms have the backing of the majority of Californians. It is a sad commentary that the best interests of California play second fiddle to the self-serving interests of public employee unions. Unfortunately the go-to answer for Democrats always seems to be more taxes. Nothing has changed.”
UPDATE @ 6:02 P.M.: From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:
“Democrats have made the tough decisions necessary to close an historic budget deficit. While Republican rhetoric suggests they are open to working with us, their actions have not reflected their public statements. In fact, over the past several days, they have shown their true priority is demanding tax cuts for huge, out-of-state corporations, and other costly proposals that would have put a four billion dollar hole in the budget. I am deeply disappointed they have refused to let the people of California have a say in how we close the deficit and put our fiscal house in order.
“Regardless, we must move forward on finding solutions that reflect the spirit of the Governor’s budget proposal. We have approved more than 14 billion dollars in solutions to close a 26 billion dollar deficit, and we will meet our constitutional obligation to approve the budget by June 15. One thing is clear: the people of California would be well served if Republican actions matched their rhetoric, because we need to move forward together, as a state, to close this deficit.”
UPDATE @ 6:07 P.M.: From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:
“I want to commend the governor for putting out an honest budget and trying to reach across party lines. Unfortunately, the Republican Party as a whole appears to want to be irrelevant when it comes to governing in California and it seems intent on achieving that objective.
“The only responsible way to resolve the state’s structural deficit once and for all is to make deep cuts and extend existing revenue. We stepped up with cuts, passing legislation that erased $14 billion of the deficit. On the revenue question, all we asked was that the minority party give Californians the right to vote on whether to double those cuts or instead extend existing taxes for five years. The Republicans denied the people that opportunity. In doing so, they put corporate tax breaks ahead of our children and students, and put private-sector developer subsidies ahead of public safety. I don’t believe their decision reflects the will and the values of the majority of Californians.
“The deadline to pass a balanced budget is June 15 and we will meet that deadline. We have a job to do and we’ll do it.”