By Kevin Yamamura
Published: Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

It’s Gov. Jerry Brown’s original deadline day, and state leaders have failed to reach a budget deal. A splinter group of five Senate Republicans is negotiating with the Democratic governor. It remains to be seen whether they can strike a compromise.

What’s next?

• Brown and GOP lawmakers continue to negotiate big-picture changes to state government, including budgeting, worker pensions and environmental regulations. The governor says he needs a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, including at least two Republicans in each house, to place tax extensions on the ballot, a key part of his solution to the state’s $26.6 billion deficit.

• Missing today’s deadline makes it unlikely the state will hold a special election on the tax extensions June 7. Each week that passes means pushing the balloting later into June.

• The California Republican Party will hold its spring convention in Sacramento March 18-20. The governor has suggested that GOP lawmakers are wary of casting a vote on the tax extensions ahead of the gathering.

• Absent the tax vote, current tax rates on sales and vehicles will fall on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

• Democrats could abandon a special election altogether and seek a legislative compromise. But they would have to find a way to replace $11.2 billion in tax solutions, and Brown has vowed to fill that gap with program cuts rather than gimmicks.

How did we get here? Highlights of the countdown

Day 1 (Jan. 10): Brown unveils his plan of cuts and tax extensions to resolve the deficit, and calls for a solution in 60 days so voters can resolve the tax issue on June 7. “I think there is a significant number of people who have an open mind,” he said.

Day 2 (Jan. 11): Brown orders the number of state cell phones cut by half. Subsequent orders would target vehicles, state hiring and free knickknacks.

Day 22 (Jan. 31): Brown calls out Republicans during his State of the State speech, terming their refusal to put tax extensions on the ballot as “unconscionable.”

Day 31 (Feb. 9): Brown kills a plan to sell state buildings, increasing the deficit by $1.2 billion.

Day 36 (Feb. 14): Legislative Analyst’s Office outlines doomsday cuts if tax extensions fail – big hits to schools, social programs, state workers.

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