Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged this morning that he might not reach a budget deal by Thursday, his self-imposed 60-day deadline, even with floor votes in the Legislature expected this week.
"I think it might take a few more days than that at the rate we're going" Brown told reporters after speaking to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors in Sacramento.
The Democratic governor, seeming increasingly frustrated, said some Republicans who might be willing to support putting tax extensions on the ballot have been threatened with reprisals from within the GOP.
He declined to identify any of those lawmakers.
"There is a lot of fear that the entire machinery of the more conservative elements will be turned against whoever votes to put this on the ballot," Brown said. With the California Republican Party convention coming up this month, he said, "They feel that their heads will be on a stick."
Brown had aimed to secure a budget deal within 60 days of his January budget release. He said today his goal is now to reach an accord "as soon as possible" to put his tax measure on the June ballot.
"Every day that passes the election can slip," Brown said. "So that's very important to get it done."
Brown hammered repeatedly on his claim that blocking a ballot measure on taxes is undemocratic.
"What I'm asking people is not to vote for cuts or taxes," he said, "but to let the people decide what it is that they want."
He said the Legislature is in no position to make such a decision itself, and he invoked its dismal public approval rating.
"It's not at 100 percent," he said. "In fact, it's closer in the opposite direction."