March 07, 2011, 6:00 PM EST
By Michael B. Marois
March 7 (Bloomberg) — California Governor Jerry Brown said he lacks enough Republican votes to pass his budget, which calls for extending $9.3 billion in tax increases, and may miss his self-imposed deadline for approval.
Brown said it may take more time to cajole at least four Republicans to support his tax plan, beyond the March 10 deadline he’s set for calling a special election in June. The Senate has scheduled a session March 10 to take up the plan.
“It might take a few more days than that, at the rate we are going,” Brown told reporters after he addressed the California Community Colleges Board of Governors today in Sacramento.
Brown has vowed to fix the financial strains that have left California with the biggest deficit of all U.S. states, and the lowest credit rating. He wants voters to choose whether to extend higher vehicle fees and sales and income taxes for five more years to avoid deeper cuts on top of the $12.5 billion he’s already proposed.
Five Republican senators who met with Brown last week to discuss a possible compromise said today the talks are at an impasse. In a letter to Brown, the senators said the proposals they presented were “either rejected or so watered down as to have no real effect on future spending or the economy.
‘‘We have therefore concluded that your are unable to compel other stakeholders to accept real reform,’’ the senators wrote.
Brown wants the budget and the companion special election measure approved by March 10 to give election officials time needed to prepare the ballot. He said he wants to know the outcome of that vote before the constitutional deadline of June 15 for the Legislature to send him a budget. Last year’s budget was passed a record 100 days into the fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The ballot measure would ask voters to extend fee and tax increases that were approved in 2009 when the state faced a $42 billion deficit. Republican lawmakers, whose support will be needed to obtain a two-thirds vote required to put the measure on the ballot, oppose the plan.
Republicans have given Brown a list of demands such as additional spending cuts, slashing pensions for public workers, easing of environmental regulations and a constitutional cap on spending. Brown said he’s meeting with Republicans to find a compromise.
‘‘I’m perfectly willing to talk about those issues but I would like to get a budget first,” he said.
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