California Republicans see budget impasse

SACRAMENTO, California Mon Mar 7, 2011 7:37pm EST

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SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - Five California Republican state senators who had been negotiating budget policies with Democratic Governor Jerry Brown on Monday declared an impasse.

Separately Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway cast doubt on whether a budget vote would meet Brown's schedule.

"No," she said when asked by Reuters if she could see lawmakers voting on a budget plan later this week.

Brown, a Democrat, wants both chambers of the Democrat-led legislature to vote on his budget plan by Thursday. That would allow a special election in June, essentially creating a voter referendum on the plan.

A spokesman for Brown responded that decades of contention could not be solved in a week.

"The governor is asking these legislators to let the people vote, but they are demanding that every item on the Republican laundry list be checked off first," Gil Duran responded by email.

Brown has proposed closing a state budget gap of more than $25 billion by roughly equal parts spending cuts and tax increases and has said if the tax increases fail he will propose $25 billion in cuts.

Revenue from the tax increases requires a special election in June to ask voters to approve extending tax hikes expiring this year.

The five Republican senators who had been in talks with the governor said in an open letter on Monday that proposals they had made in negotiations had been either rejected or so pared that they would have no effect on state spending.

"We have therefore concluded that you are unable to compel other stakeholders to accept real reform," they said in the letter. The letter is available here

(Reporting by Jim Christie in Sacramento, California, editing by Carol Bishopric)

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