Gov. Jerry Brown is considering a November ballot initiative to extend tax increases and may announce it as early as this week, bypassing Republican opposition in the Legislature, a source said.
The source said Brown is continuing to negotiate with Republican lawmakers to put tax extensions on a June ballot through a two-thirds vote in the Legislature. That remains his preferred course, but he is considering two alternatives should talks fail. The Democratic governor is more likely to pursue an initiative than to try putting taxes on the ballot through a simple majority in the Legislature, the source said.
Brown believes business groups are more likely to support a ballot initiative than any maneuver for a majority vote in the Legislature, the source said, and thinks business groups fear a majority tax vote may set a precedent for other taxes.
The source said a ballot initiative would likely include some concessions to conservative interests. Among those being considered are regulatory reform and a spending cap.
Brown has been negotiating for weeks with Republican lawmakers to push through his bid to extend temporary taxes on income, vehicles and sales, a central part of his budget plan.
Reaching a two-thirds majority would require at least two Republican votes in each house, a measure of support Brown has failed to obtain.
Brown has repeatedly said he would seek bipartisan support for tax extensions. On Monday, however, he said in a speech to labor groups that a vote would occur "no matter what anybody says across the street."
Brown spokeswoman Elizabeth Ashford said this afternoon that Brown is committed to negotiating with Republicans and believes he can reach agreement.
"He's convinced he can get the votes," she said.