As Gov. Jerry Brown continued pushing his tax plan in a speech today, county leaders lobbying lawmakers on Brown's behalf said there's a new reason to think a budget deal may be near.
The recent Supreme Court ruling requiring California to reduce its prison population has been "a game changer" in budget talks, California State Association of Counties Executive Director Paul McIntosh said.
Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, the group's president, said lawmakers he is talking with now are "under the gun." He said a few Republican senators and a couple of Republican Assembly members "want to work toward a compromise but need their issues addressed."
Brown's plan to close California's remaining $9.6 billion budget deficit includes shifting some services from the state to local government, including moving some offenders from state prisons to county facilities and sending tax revenue to local agencies to pay for the burden.
The Democratic governor has said the ruling is one reason to support extending higher taxes.
But if Republican lawmakers are feeling any pressure from the Supreme Court ruling, it isn't showing.
Jann Taber, spokeswoman for Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, said Republican leaders "provided a path to a budget deal weeks ago." The list of demands was one Brown said was unreasonable.
Like Brown, Tavaglione declined to identify the lawmakers involved in talks. Republican lawmakers have demanded a spending cap and pensions and regulatory changes in their negotiations.
Brown, who is seeking two Republican votes in each house for a budget deal, said before addressing the county association this afternoon that he remains optimistic for a deal. Asked specifically about negotiations on a spending cap, Brown said those talks are "very delicate."