Marshall Smith and I just concluded a phone interview with St. Sen. Bill Emmerson (R 37). The entire article will be in the print edition.
Republican State Sen. Bill Emmerson (CA 37) and four colleagues have been dubbed the “Gang 5” or the “GOP 5”, but he prefers the “Reform 5”. For almost two weeks, they have been deliberating and negotiating with Gov. Jerry Brown to achieve a meaningful breakthrough on the state’s financial crisis and put tax extensions on a June ballot.
Although the conferences have stopped without that achievement, Emmerson says, “The door is still open with the Governor.”
Emmerson said the five senators hope to accomplish several objectives as a result of these political risky negotiations: “Spending caps, rainy day funds, pension reform and regulatory changes to improve the state’s job creation capability.
Although no meetings are scheduled, Emmerson remains open to further talks. “I’m optimistic, that’s my nature,” he said. He said Brown indicated a willingness to address these key issues during his campaign and on his website. “It’s an opportunity to make California work,” he said.
Emmerson noted that risks and impediments are building on both sides of the legislative aisle. The formation of the “Taxpayers Caucus” two weeks ago created some division within his party, Divisions that Emmerson dubbed “destructive”. But he shared his position with his party’s legislative members. “I looked at that [formation of the Taxpayers’ Caucus] as campaigning,” he said. “Now it’s time to govern.” Emmerson believes that his group’s position has now gained respect within the larger Republican caucus.
Emmerson is unsure Brown has the full support of his party’s legislators. For example, Sen. Leeland Yee (San Francisco) has publicly opposed the governor’s plan without raising income taxes on millionaires and taxes on oil severance.
There will be more in the full article