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California Budget Stalemate Appears No Closer to Resolution as Deadline Draws Near

Brown steps up pressure on Republicans, who release counter-offer; state budget must pass by June 15 or legislators won't get paid

Gov. Jerry Brown's budget message from Sunday.

As Wednesday’s constitutional deadline to pass a state budget looms, there’s still no agreement in Sacramento between the parties wrangling over California’s budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

After Republican legislators defeated an effort to extend taxes for another year Friday, state senators worked through the weekend with little to show for it.

Trying to mobilize public opinion, Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget video Sunday and reiterated his plan to “realign” government to the local level from the state, implement deep and permanent budget cuts, extend soon-to-expire taxes with a vote of the people, and reform regulations and pension spending.

Brown needs four Republican votes — two in each chamber of the Legislature — to get the two-thirds majority to put a tax-related ballot measure to the voters.

“I’m really perplexed at why a package of this magnitude and this permanence — which has reforms, which has realignment and has temporary tax extensions — cannot be allowed for you the people to decide on,” Brown said in the video.

“I’m not asking the legislators to make all these decisions, I’m asking for a vote of the people. In order to get that, we need the four Republican votes.”

On Monday, Republicans released a list of budget alternatives, which include a spending cap, pension reform and regulatory reforms.

The documents propose a spending cap of prior-year actual spending adjusted by changes in population and inflation, and reform for regulations, including the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

A hybrid pension system in which equal costs are shared by the employer and employee is also proposed, as well as pension caps of $106,000 for those with Social Security and $119,000 for those without. No special pays, overtime or accrued leave would count for pension calculations, and people would not be allowed to work for a public entity while collecting a pension from the same agency.

For the first time, the impasse will cost legislators their pay for each day from June 16 they fail to pass a budget, as ordered by an initiative approved by voters in November. State Controller John Chiang has said California could run out of money if there’s no budget by July 1, forcing IOUs to be issued again, according to news reports.

Local agencies are working off the May revised proposal from Brown and have their own June 30 deadlines to pass 2011-2012 budgets.

Goleta and Santa Barbara’s city councils are making their own decisions on what to keep and what to cut. Click here for a related Noozhawk story on Goleta’s decision to reduce its police-services contract with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.

Click here to participate in Noozhawk’s Santa Barbara Challenge, a public-engagement project on the city of Santa Barbara’s budget.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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