The governor says his options include signing a budget that has only Democrat support and having initiatives put before voters on his tax plans.
By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times
June 18, 2011

Reporting from Blythe, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday warned Republican lawmakers that if they failed to negotiate a budget compromise with Democrats, he would seek to go around them.

That could include signing a budget that has only Democratic support, and having initiatives put before voters on the tax questions that have brought bipartisan talks to a standstill. He has been frustrated by the inability to win four Republican votes needed for the Legislature to put the tax issue on the ballot.

“I may be in initiative circulation … in the next few months,” he said, after attending a groundbreaking ceremony for what is scheduled to be the largest solar-energy project in the world.

“I’m going to solve the problem. I’d like to solve it in a week or two, but if I can’t … I can take actions of many kinds, including going to the people themselves through the direct initiative process.”

Under that scenario, Brown said, lawmakers would have to make deeper cuts to schools and other state programs until voters have a chance to vote on higher taxes.

“It’s more time consuming, more devastating to our schools and more expensive, but I am going to stop at nothing to get this budget done in a sustainable, balanced way,” he said.

Brown also implied that he could work for an even larger Democratic legislative majority in the 2012 elections that could relegate GOP lawmakers to virtual obscurity. He accused Republicans of “undermining the state and thumbing their nose at the people and their democratic rights.

“I can’t overcome that in two weeks,” he said, “but I can overcome it in two years.”

Democrats believe they have a chance in 2012 to reach the two-thirds supermajorities that are needed in both legislative houses to raise taxes and fees. The supermajority is no longer necessary for budgets to pass.

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