Capitol Alert

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Gov. Jerry Brown said in a telephone town hall with state employees last night that partisan bickering is more rampant than it once was at the Capitol, and he suggested his tax plan might fare better if Service Employee International Union members plied the other side.

"If every SEIU member would take a Republican to lunch, maybe we would be in better shape," Brown said in a telephone town hall that the union said reached thousands of employees.

Yvonne Walker, president of SEIU Local 1000, said the union's membership is 30 percent Republican, and she told Brown, "We take a lot of Republicans to lunch."

Brown's own gastronomical efforts, which he described tonight in greater detail than before, fell short, with talks stalling last week. He said his budget talks involved about seven Republicans, four in "prolonged negotiations."

Brown, who is seeking to extend higher tax rates on income, vehicles and sales, said the two sides "enjoyed some nice wine in my office, and the next night I took them over to my loft and we poured another couple bottles of wine."

Later, an employee on the call asked Brown if he would proceed to furloughs or layoffs if the state budget remains unresolved in November.

"Wow," Brown said. "You know what, I hadn't thought about that, but it's not good."

He said, "All I can tell you at this point is I'm not taking anything off the table, but we just have to get those tax extensions, because the alternative is not pretty."



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