For months, Capitol reporters have speculated about the role Anne Gust Brown would play in Jerry Brown’s administration.
Now we know: yelling at Bob Dutton.
That’s what the Senate minority leader claimed Thursday morning, following a week that saw budget negotiations break down between Brown and a quintet of GOP Senators known as the “GOP 5.” Speaking to reporters after a short Senate morning session, Dutton said Brown has treated him as largely irrelevant to budget negotiations, and that one meeting in particular didn’t exactly go well.
“I was yelled at more than I was talked to,” said Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, “and mostly by Mrs. Brown, not even by the governor.”
Dutton and Sen. Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, portrayed the governor as little interested in talking to Republicans or paying attention to their ideas.
“During that period [budget negotiations over the last several weeks], the governor did not reach out to talk about the budget or anything else,” Dutton said.
Brown announced late in the day on Tuesday that negotiations were basically “dead,” due to what he perceived as a lack of interest in compromise. Dutton took issue with this, denying that a seven-page document of Republican ideas that had been circulating consisted of hard and fast demands. Among the ideas it contained were a hard cap on spending.
“These were things that were discussed to see if we had any room for compromise,” Dutton said.
Dutton also denied speculation the Republicans were never interested in compromise and were merely trying to “run out the clock” to prevent a special election on taxes from happening this summer. Brown has asked for a five-year extension of several temporary tax increases, but Dutton indicated that members of his caucus were unlikely to go longer than 18 months, even as part of a compromise vote.
He said he was aware the GOP 5 were negotiating with the governor and that he didn’t have a problem with it — “I assumed they (Democrats) were working on a normal pickoff strategy.”