Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown, lawmakers pull cap-and-trade out of budget talks

This March 9, 2010 file photo shows a tanker truck passing the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif.
This March 9, 2010 file photo shows a tanker truck passing the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, Calif. AP

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders have agreed to set aside a dispute over cap-and-trade revenue until after adopting the state’s annual spending plan, eliminating a point of contention in budget talks 10 days before the deadline for its approval.

H.D. Palmer, spokesman for Brown’s Department of Finance, said in an email Friday that Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins agreed to pick up negotiations surrounding cap-and-trade – money polluters pay to offset carbon emissions – “outside of the budget process.”

While removing a hurdle for the budget’s passage, cap-and-trade remains a sticking point for Brown and legislative Democrats.

Senate leaders have proposed a spending plan that exceeds Brown’s proposal by about $500 million, mostly for greenhouse gas reducing programs benefiting disadvantaged communities, according to a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The cap-and-trade debate does not affect the largest portion of the fund – 60 percent, or $1.2 billion, continuously appropriated for high-speed rail, transit and other programs agreed to last year.

Palmer said removing cap-and-trade from the budget talks would “ensure that there’s ample time to put in place a thoughtful expenditure plan.”

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