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Budget Status 3/28/2011

Today is Cesar Chavez Day and therefore the legislature will not be in session. However, there will be tremendous pressure to vote on outstanding budget issues, including the Enterprise Zone program, this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday.

Negotiations between the Governor and Republicans have been ongoing seeking to find a way to enable at least two Republicans in each House to vote to approve a ballot measure to extend some taxes that will otherwise expire in June. Those negotiations have apparently shifted from the “GOP 5″ Senators to Senator Bob Dutton, the Senate minority leader and Senator Bob Huff the Co-Chair of the Budget Committee. On Friday, they issued this statement:

Governor Brown challenged Republicans to be engaged in the budget process. Republicans have been engaged for months. Today he was presented with a thorough outline, which reiterates our priorities, including: getting our state back on track by reining in runaway spending; controlling unsustainable public employee pensions; getting people back to work; protecting and improving our state’s public education system; and making critical adjustments to the governor’s flawed budget.

Republicans were accused of being the party of “no” and now Republicans are accused of being the party of “too much yes.”

That last statement may reflect the assertion made in the Contra Costa Times that

Democrats angrily rejected a long list of demands – 53 issues in all – that Republicans made Friday in budget negotiations with Gov. Jerry Brown, and are now amping up threats to go around the minority party to ensure a special election on tax extensions.

The full seven-page document of demands can be found here, and, on page five, states regarding Enterprise Zones:

ENTERPRISE ZONES

  • There are potential reforms
  • Currently costs approx. $1 billion
  • The elimination of Enterprise Zones is a permanent tax increase that the Governor is not sending to a vote by the people.
  • A staff person from Senator Dutton’s office clarified that Republicans are not advocating that the issue of Enterprise Zone be placed on a ballot, rather they are pointing out that while the Governor seems to be going to great lengths to keep his campaign promise not to raise taxes without a vote of the people, when in comes to Enterprise Zones he is willing to enact a large tax increase on businesses without going to the people for a vote.

    For an analysis of some of the “Plan B” options, see Dan Walter’s column from yesterday’s Sacramento Bee.

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