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Republicans block Jerry Brown's budget move. What are his options now?

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“Brown’s not always right, but he does have a record of being prophetic,” wrote Mr. Skelton.

What next? Analysts generally see two options.

One is that Brown will follow through on his threat to craft an “all cuts budget,” closing the entire $26.4 billion hole with program cuts alone. That would shrink state spending by more than one-quarter from this year's level.

“Both sides will regroup and refresh themselves and come back at the question with the added impetus of what an all-cuts budget will look like, and it’s not a pretty picture,” says Barbara O’Connor, director emeritus of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento.

Brown wanted a special election by June 7, and the law requires 131 days' advance notice for electioneers to write, print, and distribute ballots. But that requirement appears to be malleable. In 2009, Secretary of State Debra Bowen prepared a special election in 88 days. “I don’t think anyone knows the drop-dead deadline,” says Ms. O’Connor. “When there’s a will, there’s a way. But no one knows.”

She predicts that much politicking will go on at seven large social gatherings set for Tuesday evening in Sacramento. One is a giant gathering about emergency relief for earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Japan. Another is a benefit honoring the cofounder of the United Farm Workers, where Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker John Pérez are all expected to be speaking.

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