By The Modesto Bee Editorial Board
March 7, 2011
State budget negotiations are at a fragile point in Sacramento. As of Monday afternoon, it appears unlikely there will be resolution by Thursday - the deadline set by Gov. Jerry Brown to get a tax extension proposal on a special June ballot.
[W]e're pleased that the two state senators representing Stanislaus County - Anthony Cannella and Tom Berryhill - have been among five Republicans talking directly with the governor in hopes of getting meaningful reform implemented as part of any budget deal.
On Monday afternoon, the five signed a letter signaling that the situation was at an impasse.
"This menu of reform options was presented knowing that, although we probably could not expect to achieve all exactly as presented, each of these issues represent the tough medicine you've said our state needs," the letter states. "We were therefore disappointed to find that our reforms were either rejected or so watered down as to have no real effect on future spending or the economy. We have therefore concluded that you are unable to compel other stakeholders to accept real reform."
That phrase "ongoing dialogue" leaves the door open for the Democrats to agree to more of the senators' demands.
The senators' list includes items that have been discussed for years and several strategies advocated by the Little Hoover Commission. Among them: public pension reform and regulatory relief for new and existing businesses. Many business leaders say that the state's anti-business reputation is linked as much to conflicting and burdensome rules as it is to high taxes.
Neither Berryhill nor Cannella holds a leadership position in their party's caucus, but as far as we're concerned, they are demonstrating true - and courageous - leadership by continuing the dialogue with the governor in an effort to find solutions to the state fiscal crisis.
To read the letter sent by Senator Cannella and his colleagues to Governor Brown yesterday regarding their package of reform proposals, please visit: