A handful of state Senate Republicans who last week were rumored to be trying to cut a budget deal with Gov. Jerry Brown said in a public letter Monday that they were disappointed at his negotiating stance and would not support him.
“Our (proposed) reforms were either rejected or so watered down as to have no real effect on future spending or the economy,” said the open letter, signed by Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, and four others.
“We have concluded that you have been unable to compel other stakeholders to accept real reform,” the letter went on.
State Republicans have stood steadfastly against giving voters the right to say in a special June election whether they would be willing to extend tax breaks to help close a $26.6 billion budget gap.
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It takes a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to place the measure on the ballot, which means some Republicans would have to support the public vote.Brown has proposed $12 billion in cuts, and the ballot measure, if voters sign on, would help bring in another $12 billion.
The letter from Blakeslee, who portrays himself as a moderate Republican, seems to have hindered if not ended Brown’s efforts to enlist these Republicans, although they said they remain “open to engaging” with Brown.
Others senators who signed the letter were Tom Berryhill of Modesto, Anthony Canella of Ceres, Tom Harman of Huntington Beach and Bill Emmerson of Redlands.
They said they want a spending cap, pension reform, job creation, regulatory reform, an end to frivolous lawsuits and cumbersome permit processes, accountability for “unelected bureaucrats” and other reforms.
Tax support wanted
The superintendent of the Lucia Mar Unified School District has sent a letter to legislators representing San Luis Obispo County asking them to support placing an extension of the temporary taxes on a June ballot to avoid deeper cuts to education.
“I urge you to support education in your home district now by adopting a balanced approach between cutting spending and raising revenue,” Superintendent Jim Hogeboom wrote in an e-mail last week to Blakeslee and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo. “Not addressing the revenue side of the equation and making $25 billion in cuts is simply not an approach that makes any sense.”
The school board has also adopted a resolution advocating for the Legislature to place the issue on a June ballot.
Without an extension of the temporary taxes, Hogeboom said, the South County district faces a loss of at least $3.5 million, plus an additional $700,000 due to projected declining enrollment. The district has about 10,700 students.
If the tax extensions are not approved and the Legislature does not support Brown’s proposed budget reductions, the district could have to make cuts of up to $6.6 million.
The school board tonight will consider issuing layoff notices to 25 full-time intervention and resource teachers, and a school nurse (11 of the employees will be reassigned). The board will also consider eliminating 38 classified positions.