By David Siders
Published: Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, Mar. 24, 2011 – 8:52 am

Budget talks remained at an apparent impasse Wednesday, with time running out and Gov. Jerry Brown complaining that he has yet to receive a list of demands from the Republican lawmakers with whom he is speaking.

Brown said he still is “looking for a term sheet of some kind” from any deal-minded Republicans.

The Democratic governor, increasingly frustrated by Republican lawmakers’ opposition to a June election on tax extensions, plans to sign budget-cutting bills approved by the Legislature last week at a 1 p.m. ceremony today.

He is also considering a November ballot initiative to bypass the Legislature in an effort to close the remaining gap in the spending plan.

“I can confirm that I’m not unconsidering anything that I ought to consider,” Brown told reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suggested that a resolution could be forthcoming “very, very soon,” but he declined to be specific.

“We are in the process of talking about all the alternatives, so I’m not going to say definitively,” he said.

A group of five Republican senators who were talking with Brown demanded pension, regulatory and other government changes, but Brown said it is not yet clear what concessions could “seal the deal.”

Mike Genest, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former finance director and a former adviser to the so-called “GOP 5,” said Wednesday that “some of those Republicans made some serious proposals” to Brown.

“They made sincere proposals to the governor which, I think, if he had accepted, there may have been some movement,” Genest said in a panel discussion on the budget sponsored by The Bee on Capital Public Radio. “Apparently the other side wasn’t willing to go that far.”

Extending tax increases on vehicles, income and sales is a central part of Brown’s plan to close a $26.6 billion budget deficit.

Genest, a Republican, said there is a “case to be made that we might need to keep these taxes at a higher level for a while.”

However, he said Republicans in the negotiation should “take that opportunity to get some serious reforms.”

Brown has declined to identify the lawmakers with whom he is speaking. He said it is “not clear” how many Republicans remain in play.

“I’ve had some good conversations,” he said. “I continue to seek a bipartisan solution, but we haven’t got it yet.”

Asked about the difficulty of circulating petitions in time to qualify an initiative for a November ballot, Brown said, “No one said it was going to be easy. Whichever way I look, I see bears in the forest.”

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