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A key Republican
lawmaker said Monday there is support in his caucus for extending current tax
rates through legislation for several months until a ballot measure can be put
before voters for continuing the taxes until 2011-12.
The plan would be
to pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget proposal before July and allow voters to
subsequently ratify the package in a September or November election, said state
Sen. Bob Huff of Diamond Bar.
The Legislature would
directly extend the taxes themselves to a time-certain date, he explained, “where
the voters can weigh in on a special election, that’s how it would lay out,”
Huff explained in an interview.
“At that point,
they (voters) would be asking to extend the taxes themselves. If they say no,
then those temporary taxes – the two, three, five, six, whatever months (the
Legislature approved them for), then they would fall off. That’s how I
understand it’s being framed.”
Republican support for extending the governor’s tax package – even short-term –
would suggest a far more palatable option to any others being discussed in
Sacramento, which includes passing an all-cuts budget. It comes as the state’s
teachers union called publicly Tuesday on the governor to move ahead with
extending the taxes without an election – something Brown has said he cannot
But as described,
the deal would appease both the Republican’s pledge to not support any new
taxes, and the governor’s campaign promise that he wouldn’t sign off on any taxes
without voter approval.
Current tax rates
on sales, income, and vehicles expire in June. If the public were allowed to
vote on the measures in September without a budget in place, they would technically
be voting on new taxes. There’s also a question how the state could manage
keeping solvent until then without a budget in place.
scenario Huff described would give Republicans political cover by maintaining
the ‘tax extension’ title.
“While a nuance,
it’s a big deal in conservative districts,” Huff explained.
According to the
Senator, the budget deal still hinges on a wish list of Republican demands. The
last Republican list presented to Gov. Jerry Brown in March included a host of
issues that extended beyond prior GOP requests for pension reform, a cap on
state spending, and regulatory changes.
At the time, the
governor balked, and talks reportedly broke down and have not progressed since
then. But if the governor reconsiders those demands, said Huff, he would get
“I believe that
if the governor met the criteria of what the so-called GOP five were at – that (Senate
minority leader) Bob Dutton and I presented – that there would be votes to do
that,” said Huff.
signs that budget talks continue in lieu of a reported standstill, Huff said he
didn’t believe a deal was imminent.
“I’ve seen no
willingness on the Democrat leadership side to take Republicans up on their
offer,” he said.