by William Bigalow
SACRAMENTO – On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown of California, unused to dealing with the minority GOP faction in his state house, asked for a special session of the legislature to consider his proposal to create a rainy-day fund, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Brown must deal with the GOP because of the suspension of three Democrats that left him without the supermajority that ensured he could act unilaterally.
Brown still has some leverage; the GOP had a budget reserve measure ready, but public employee unions are dead-set against it.
Brown had criticized the GOP proposal because he said it didn’t take into account the vicissitudes of capital gains revenue and didn’t give lawmakers the power to pay down the state’s debt. He said of his own plan, “We simply must prevent the massive deficits of the last decade, and we can only do that by paying down our debts and creating a solid Rainy Day Fund.”
GOP leaders were reluctant to endorse Brown’s plan when it was first announced in January, and on Wednesday their position remained unchanged.
Brown’s plan would allocate $1.6 billion to the rainy-day fund and another $1.6 billion to pay down the state’s debt. He would also increase deposits when capital gains revenue rises, limit the fund to ten percent of general fund revenue, and add a special reserve for school funding.
Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College, told the Bee: “If there’s any issue on which he can work with Republicans, it’s this one… Republicans are pretty sure that he’s going to be around for the next four years, so it might be a good idea to work with him.”
The talks will begin before Brown’s revised budget proposal in May.