Brown, key lawmakers close on spending cap

Gov. Brown and legislative negotiators were nearing agreement on a five-year spending cap, Capitol sources said, a critical piece of any budget package requiring Republican support.

The cap, long sought by GOP lawmakers, would limit spending to a level reflecting cost-of-living and population growth.

The proposal was one of “several moving pieces” in the governor’s budget package that appeared to be nearing fruition Thursday afternoon, sources said.

Earlier in the day, Brown said the window to reach a deal and place the tax-and-cut package before voters was closing quickly, reducing the chances to put the budget before voters on a June 7 special election ballot.

He added that he was negotiating with Republican and that he was “willing to go as far as I can” to get a bipartisan agreement, noting that Republicans’ were concerned with pension and regulatory issues.

Brown made the comments after signing more than $11 billion in cuts contained in bills that were sent to his desk last week. None of the bills contained taxes.

Brown proposed has proposed a combination of taxes and cuts to address a $26 billion budget shortage, and he hopes to get bipartisan support to place the package before voters. Thus far, Republicans have withheld their backing. A group of five GOP senators known variously as the “Flirty Five,” “Fickle Five,” “GOP Five” and the “Little Gang of Five,” has been in talks with the governor who, backed by fellow Democrats, needs only a handful of Republican votes to get his budget onto the ballot.

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