“GOP Five” Hold Budget Hostage

On the day of Gov. Jerry Brown's self-imposed budget deadline, instead of taking a vote in Capitol chambers the governor is hunkered down behind closed doors trying to convince members of the GOP to sign on to his plan.

Brown is trying to convince five Republican senators who have dubbed themselves the "GOP Five" to agree to put a tax measure on the June ballot. KCRA in Sacramento reports that lawmakers have been told to consider themselves on call throughout the weekend in hopes a vote can still be called.

The governor wants to cut $12.5 billion from the budget and put a measure on the June ballot that asked voters to keep higher taxes and fees in order to help erase a $25.4 billion deficit.

The GOP Five is making demands before they give their support. Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, said he wants to make sure voters have all the right choices before them on the ballot, adding that he wasn't sure if the closed coor meeting would make enough progress to even "get to that point."

The Republican group released a statement this week indicating a lack of progress.

"Although various interest groups may not have an appetite for real change, we believe that the public is demanding it."

On Thursday Brown's office said the meetings were both "positive and productive."

"Governor Brown has continued to engage in positive and productive budget discussions with legislators on both sides of the isle. For this reason, he has asked the Pro Tem and the Speaker to temporarily delay any vote on the budget in order to allow more time to find common ground and to put the state’s finances back in balance," Press Secretary Gil Duran said.

Democrats spoke words of confidence as they entered the room Thursday. "We're going to get a deal," Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles told KCRA.

As they say in television news: Stay tuned.

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