Brown Vetos Calif. Budget

Originally published on June 17, 2011 10:58 am
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


John Myers of member station KQED covers the statehouse in Sacramento and joins us now. Hi, John.

JOHN MYERS: Hello, Robert.

SIEGEL: Jerry Brown is a Democrat, the state legislature is controlled by Democrats, and it was a Democratic budget that he vetoed. What happened?

MYERS: So Democrats yesterday gave up on that. They removed the taxes from his budget and put some other creative fixes in it and sent it to him. And today, in a video that we all saw posted on YouTube, Jerry Brown made it pretty clear that this plan, in his words, only delayed the day of reckoning.


JERRY BROWN: California is facing a fiscal crisis, and very strong medicine must be taken. So I am vetoing today because I don't want to see more billions in borrowing, legal maneuvers that are questionable and a budget that will not stand the test of time.

SIEGEL: So John, what happens now? First, can lawmakers override the veto, or do they have another plan?

MYERS: There's a lot of talk of what happens next, a plan B, a plan C because this actually wasn't even the first preferred budget. But again, it's going to have to be something that has these long-term fixes that Jerry Brown wants and also can get Republicans to go along with the tax issue, which Brown says is really critical to getting the revenues and getting the voters to approve those revenues.

SIEGEL: Jerry Brown has had a reputation since the 1970s as being a very unconventional politician. It sounds like he's living up to his reputation.

MYERS: And so here's Brown saying I'm not back to make nice with my fellow Democrats or interest groups. The Democrats have a different story on that, I should say. They think Brown is making a mistake here. They think he's being too much of a party of one.

BLOCK: Look, I don't want to play the games, I just want to solve the problems.

SIEGEL: Well, California, of course, has had the year after year of late state budgets. Can its finances withstand another political logjam?

MYERS: And what California needs is really what I think you could call a payday loan from Wall Street, some kind of bridge loan. But the investors on Wall Street have made it pretty clear that if there's not a budget in place in California, then that loan can't happen. And so I think that, you know, that Jerry Brown and the California Legislature, given how little they agree at this point, they've got a lot of work to do in a very small amount of time.

SIEGEL: OK, we'll stay tuned. Thank you, John.

MYERS: You're welcome.

SIEGEL: John Myers is the Sacramento bureau chief for member station KQED. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.