When Gov. Jerry Brown presents his, to steal a phrase, “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad” budget this morning, Republican legislators could quickly find themselves in a bind.

Brown has spent the days and weeks since his November election telling anyone who will listen just how ghastly a financial fix California is in and the type of something-for-everyone-to-hate budget that’s going to be needed to keep the state afloat.

Nobody and nothing will be spared, the governor promised, including plenty of programs his fellow Democrats have gone to war over in the past.

The spending plan will be smoke and mirror free, he pledged, and will show Californians exactly how much shared pain will be needed to staunch the fiscal bleeding.

All that’s way easier said than done, but if the governor follows through on his promises, GOP lawmakers face a dilemma.

For years, Republicans have said the state doesn’t have a revenue problem, but has a spending problem and that budget cuts are the only way to solve California’s financial woes.

Well, Brown is expected to push for exactly the types of cuts Republicans have called for, but they’re not going to be enough to close the state’s $28 billion anticipated deficit. The other part of the governor’s budget plan is likely to be a June special election to extend billions in tax and fee increases now slated to expire in July.

But to get that tax extension on the ballot in a hurry, Brown needs a handful of GOP votes in the Legislature. And that’s where things get interesting.

All but two GOP legislators have signed a “no taxes, no how, no way” pledge sponsored by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform group and Patrick Gleason, the group’s state affairs director, has been warning Republicans that a vote to put a tax extension on the ballot breaks that pledge.

“We’ll cheerfully let voters know who has broken the promise to them,” he said.

To make things clear, that’s a Washington-based organization threatening California legislators about taking an action that would let California voters decide whether they wanted to boost California taxes.

There’s not much doubt where Norquist and Gleason stand on California’s budget concerns. Last month they had an article on the Politico website entitled “Let States Go Bankrupt.”

It’s easy to talk about ideological purity when you’re 3,000 miles away from where the pain is going to be felt. And the anti-tax folk have been mighty quiet about how that $28 billion budget gap is going to get closed without some new or continued revenue.

Now the easiest way out for Republicans would be for Democrats in the Legislature to dig their feet in and refuse to agree to the painful and dramatic cuts Brown will recommend. That would let the GOP argue that if it’s going to be business as usual for the Democratic majority, why should they give any ground.

But if the new governor does manage to convince the Dems that hard times call for hard choices, where does that leave Republicans?

By blocking a tax extension measure from the ballot, Republicans would be telling voters that they don’t trust them to decide what’s best for California – and their families.

There are plenty of reasons extending those increases may be a bad economic idea and Republicans legislators and other tax foes would have an entire campaign to make those arguments.

But try telling Californians they can’t vote on the most important issue facing the state because a guy back in Washington wouldn’t like it.

John Wildermuth is a long-time writer on California politics.