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Tick-tock: In California, budget negotiations over June 2011 tax hike vote drag on past deadline

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March 11, 2011

Bill Emmerson, one of five moderate Republicans negotiating with Jerry Brown

SACRAMENTO, California: As budget negotiations drag on between Jerry Brown and the California State Legislature about a potential State Tax Hike Proposition for the June 7, 2011 ballot, the logistical and practical considerations involved in organizing an election mean that there is a drop-dead deadline past which it will be impossible to declare that an election will take place.

John Myers, Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED's The California Report, wrote on February 16: "The bottom line is that lawmakers can rejigger the process in a number of ways. But under any scenario, getting beyond March 11 is risky business."[1]

In election administration parlance, March 11 is "E-88," or 88 days before the June 7, 2011.

Jerry Brown said earlier in the year that March 10 was his drop-dead deadline, but on March 9, he instead asked the California State Legislature to delay its vote on the proposal that would lead to the June 7 special election.[2]

The extra time is needed to find a few Republicans in each chamber of the state legislature, the California State Senate and the California State Assembly, who will go along with Brown's plan to put a tax hike on the June ballot. Democrats are two votes short of a two-thirds majority in the lower house and three votes short in the upper house.

The governor's team is negotiating with five moderate Republican state senators, Tom Berryhill, Sam Blakeslee, Anthony Cannella, Bill Emmerson and Tom Harman.[3]

What the Republicans are said to be likely to ask for, in return for their vote to put the tax hike proposal on the June ballot, are:

  • Revisions to the pension system for public employees.[3]
  • A state spending cap.[3]

See also