With only $2 billion in differences between legislative Democrats and Gov. Brown, the budget fight is merely at stage play at this point. It looks like it’ll be over Friday, but should it be?
There may be one big practical reason for the Democrats to delay the play’s closing until month’s end.
To see whether Gov. Brown’s temporary tax measure qualifies for the November ballot.
That is likely. But it isn’t a sure thing.
Brown filed his compromise measure – the California Federation of Teachers had its own tax initiative but dropped it – very late in the process. And he turned in signatures later than recommended deadlines. Brown and his team seem to believe they can expedite the process when need me (see the record turnaround of title and summary by Attorney General Kamala Harris), and they better. Since his budget is built around the initiative.
But for now, the measure is in a bit of a pickle, time-wise. From the raw count, it’s highly likely that the initiative has enough signatures to qualify for a ballot. But it’s not entirely clear that verification of those signatures will happen fast enough for the initiative to qualify for this November’s ballot.
The stated deadline for qualifying an initiative for the November ballot is June 28. But the deadline for counties to complete the random sample isn’t until July 6.
The good news for the initiative is that many of the counties have done this work. But the bad news is that many have not, and under the random count as of June 7, Brown’s measure had projected valid signatures of just over 255,000. He needs to get that number to north of 887,000 to qualify in time (that’s 110 percent of the required number).
LA County has yet to report its random sample; the raw count of signatures there was 433, 584. This would be the time to show some love to LA’s registrar- recorder Dean Logan. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some extra money to meet the needs of Logan’s offices tucked somewhere into the budget as a reward for expedited service.
To make sure the initiative gets such service might be another reason to delay the budget for a few weeks.