The Public Policy Institute of California’s Speaker Series kicked off yesterday’s session with a conversation between Gov. Jerry Brown’s Executive Secretary (read: Chief of Staff) Nancy McFadden and PPIC President Mark Baldassare.

Following are a few items from that short 10-minute conversation and questions that popped into my head while listening to the discussion.

McFadden declared the number one priority of the Brown Administration is to stay on a fiscally stable road. She cited advancements the administration made to cut debt and explained that worthy projects were vetoed by the governor because they had to be evaluated in the context of the overall budget.

She also noted that if California accepts the drive for a $15 minimum wage that would add a $3 billion cost to the state General Fund.

Evaluating such a hit to the General Fund may give the administration pause. Even with the glowing budget report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, such a hit would undermine efforts to increase funding to other programs, notably health care.

Q: Might the governor oppose a $15 minimum wage initiative?

With the House Republicans and nearly 50 Democrats, including eight from California, voting to pause the Syria refugee program, constituent concerns were definitely heard in Washington. Gov. Brown already said Syrian refugees would be welcomed in California.

McFadden said that the governor, in a conversation with White House officials, argued for adequate vetting in a “careful and wise way” and to keep governors informed on what the administration is doing to advance the vetting system.

Q: Doesn’t a pause give time to strengthen the vetting system in a “careful and wise way”?

There may not be a wide space between the governor’s position and a majority of House Republicans and Democrats who supported the legislation.

Speaking of coming together over an important issue, McFadden suggested there was room to negotiate on transportation funding.

From the beginning of the governor’s call for a special session on transportation funding there seemed to be room to find common areas of interest between the governor and legislators of both parties. Improving transportation and infrastructure funding is an issue that is embraced by both sides of the aisle. Some give and take may get to an end game.

Q: If taxes are involved in a compromise solution, will the governor agree to come out against all other taxes on next year’s ballot?