California Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise $9.3 billion in sorely needed revenue to help close a $26 billion budget gap through 2013 is in jeopardy. In January, he pitched the idea of allowing voters to decide whether or not to extend temporary tax increases (first enacted in 2009 and set to expire this year) for another five years.
Governor Brown needs a two-thirds majority of state lawmakers to place such a measure on the ballot, and to date, the governor has failed to garner support from a single Republican lawmaker (he needs four to vote with him).
California’s constitutional deadline for passing a budget is June 15th. Originally, Governor Brown had set a self-imposed deadline of March 10th to gain approval for his tax extension plan to ensure time to get the question on the ballot by early June. That date has come and gone with no avail, so Brown is now seeking ways around the Republican blockade and still hoping something can be worked out in time for June.
One alternative under consideration is a November vote on the measure which would be placed on the ballot through a petition drive rather than the legislative process. But, that would mean the vote would come long after the budget deadline forcing lawmakers to cut billions of dollars more from an already depleted state budget.
All eyes are on California and its popular governor to see if he can work things out in time for a June vote on the tax extension, but time is certainly running out.