Hours after budget talks between Gov. Jerry Brown and five Republican senators were described as "done and over" by Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway, one member of the so-called "GOP 5" signaled he could return to the negotiating table.
"I am still willing to talk," Sen. Anthony Cannella said after leaving a Republican Caucus meeting, adding, "I'm going to ask for what I think is important."
Another member of the group, Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, told The Bee earlier today that talks fell apart due to resistance to the senators' proposals for pension and regulatory reform and a permanent spending cap.
"There's big gaps in what we're trying to accomplish," said Cannella, who last spoke with Brown yesterday. "I think there's powerful forces at play here that don't want to upset the way things have been, and I personally believe we can no longer continue down the road that we're going."
When asked by a reporter whether he would vote to put tax extensions on the ballot if Brown and Democrats agree to the reforms he is seeking, the Ceres Republican said it was too early in the negotiating process to comment.
"That's like asking the San Francisco Giants who's going to pitch for game seven of the the World Series," he said.
Sens. Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo and Tom Berryhill of Oakdale, also members of the "GOP 5," declined to comment on the matter during and after a noon floor session. The fifth member of the group, Sen. Bill Emmerson of Hemet said talks are "still going" but would not comment further.