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Gov. Brown misses budget deal deadline, negotiations continue

March 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Gov. Jerry Brown wanted a budget vote by Thursday, but no compromise was reached.

"Anybody who has been in Sacramento or followed the budget for years knows that fermentation is part of the process, and that's what's happening now," said Elizabeth Ashford, Brown's chief deputy press secretary.

The California Republican Party says Brown missing his self-imposed deadline shows that he's been unable to change anything in Sacramento.

"It's obviously a failure for Jerry Brown," said Hector Barajas, communications director of the California Republican Party. "First he wanted all ideas. He wanted people to come to the table to negotiate. It's obvious he didn't want to negotiate and he didn't want the ideas because we're back to square one."

A splinter group of five Republican senators who are open to supporting Brown's budget proposal are still holding out for pension reform, a spending cap and regulatory changes, all touchy subjects among public employee unions which are pressuring Democrats not to cave in to GOP demands.

Also ratcheting up the pressure on Democrats are environmental groups that don't want Californians to lose their voice to developers in exchange for a budget vote.

"We worried about a backroom deal that might shut people out of the process of planning for large developments in their communities," said Bill Magavern of the Sierra Club.

The governor has spent weeks barhopping and wining and dining to win over two Republicans in each house to go along with putting the tax extension on the June ballot.

He sometimes brings his dog Sutter to GOP meetings to up the charm factor. Still, the senate president has a warning to Republican lawmakers about wanting too much.

"Don't overplay your hand because in the end, the people elected Governor Brown instead of Meg Whitman," said Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento).