Budget Plan Gridlock Stalls Negotiations in California

When the latest round of bipartisan budget talks crumbled, Brown paid a visit to his new favorite stop: YouTube.
April 1, 2011

In California, the drought is officially over, but unfortunately, the bipartisan negotiations for a June budget plan have dried up.

Gov. Jerry Brown cut off talks with GOP lawmakers this week, which effectively terminated his plan to ask Californians to vote on billions in tax extensions in a June special election. The announcement came days after Republicans released a list of 53 demands they wanted met in exchange for their support.

“Republicans, of course, blew yet another chance to be relevant in this blue state by not capitalizing on their clout over a two-thirds vote,” George Skelton wrote in the LA Times. “A little give here and there and they could have had pension rollbacks, business regulatory relief and even a spending cap. All for just putting a tax question on the ballot.”

But Skelton said everyone shares the blame, from the labor unions to Democratic lawmakers to voters for even creating a system with the potential for ungovernable gridlock.

When the latest round of bipartisan budget talks crumbled, Brown paid a visit to his new favorite stop: YouTube. On March 21, Brown gave his first YouTube address since taking office, urging state legislators to let voters have a say in the state’s budget crisis. The three-minute, 17-second video shows Brown in his office, wearing a suit and overflowing with optimism.

“Yes, there’s some fighting among the parties,” he says, “but amazingly, there’s been a lot of cooperation and a lot of progress.”

Eight days later, Brown posted a new video. This time, he’s more casually dressed, a lot less upbeat and it only takes one minute and 40 seconds to get his point across.

“Unfortunately, even though we came very close, there are issues that I think are impossible to resolve at this time,” he says in the video which, as of March 31, has garnered more than 14,000 views.

Specifically, he criticized Republicans for fighting for “a billion-dollar tax break to giant companies that keep jobs out of California.” But he ends the video on a positive note, telling viewers that he’s going to explore all options to reach the goal of a balanced budget. “I’ve been around a long time,” Brown says. “I know we can do it.”

When it comes to new media, Brown has a long way to go before he can boast numbers like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the YouTube sensation, whose town hall video from last September has nearly 1 million views. But even though Brown isn’t talking to Republicans, at least he’s still talking to the people.

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