Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sac Bee: GOP Senators have private conversations with Governor Brown

Brown's Countdown, Day 52: Dutton says Republicans now meeting with Jerry Brown
Torey Van Oot, The Sacramento Bee
Published: Wednesday, Mar. 2, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 3A

With the target for a budget deal nine days away, Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton confirmed Tuesday that some of his members are now talking to Gov. Jerry Brown.

But don't get excited. Dutton, who says he asks members of his caucus to tell him when they meet with Brown, maintained that the hush-hush discussions are "not about tax extensions."

All 15 of his caucus members, Dutton said, should still be considered "no" votes on Brown's proposal to put tax hike extensions on the ballot.

"They aren't cutting any side deals," Dutton said. "There's members looking at options, but they really have nothing to do with tax increases. It has to do with things necessary to make (government) more efficient, more effective and to promote economic growth in the private sector."

Brown wants a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to put his tax-extension proposal on the ballot. For that to succeed, two Republicans in each house would have to go along.

Dutton said making next Thursday's deadline could be a problem.

"I know everybody would like to see that happen, but I don't see it happening," he said.

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