Sen. Bob Dutton, the new Republican minority leader of the state Senate, said he meets today with Gov.-elect Jerry Brown with "an open mind" -- but with the memory of having done battle with Brown before.
Brown as Attorney General sued Dutton's home turf of San Bernardino County in 2007, charging that the county needed to update its land use and population-growth planning to quantify and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.The county, the suit said, needed to get in shape to follow AB 32, the state's landmark greenhouse gas reduction law.
"He was suing my county, so I had to get involved," said Dutton, a Rancho Cucamonga Republican who remains an ardent foe of AB 32 and would like it suspended for now because he believes it will hinder economy recovery.
Dutton said Brown, who eventually reached a settlement with the county, was "very professional" when Dutton negotiated with him over the lawsuit. And Dutton said the governor-elect has been "very much a gentlemen" with Dutton so far.
The day after the election, Brown offered to fly to Rancho Cucamonga to meet Dutton, but Dutton told him he would be happy to come north to see him. They meet in San Francisco today at 2 p.m.
Dutton said he'll make the same case to Brown that he made after the election to state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the Sacramento Democrat.
He'll point out that a couple dozen GOP-backed bills were killed by the Legislature this year that would have lifted regulations that businesses say are stunting economic recovery and job growth.
Dutton said the Democrats got what they wanted with passage of Proposition 25, giving legislators a simple majority vote to approve a budget instead of at least a two-thirds majority vote. "But the people also said, 'Stop nickel and diming us," Dutton said.
Voters passed Proposition 22, which blocks the state from taking some funds from local governments along with Proposition 26, which requires a two-thirds vote for some state and local fee increases.
"The proof will be in the pudding," Dutton said, when asked whether he thinks Brown will accept those propositions as a sign that it would be very difficult for Brown to try to get tax increases at the ballot box .
Brown told Californians during his campaign that he wouldn't seek tax increases to relieve the state's looming budget deficit without voter approval.
Brown and Democratic legislators leaders have said they're eager to try to put the case to Californians -- perhaps in a series of public forums -- for what services they value and how they'll pay for them.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, file photo 2009, courtesy of Dutton's office