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Brown Halts Budget Talks, But They May Not Be Over

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UPDATED 8 p.m. Brown has released a Youtube video (above) that expresses his willingness to meet some Republicans demands and leaves the door open, if only a sliver.

(ORIGINAL 4:45 p.m.) Minutes ago, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a statement announcing a "halt" to budget talks. He said he had stopped negotiations on Monday with Republicans after they expanded their list of demands to multiple items that either had nothing to do with the budget or would make things worse.

This announcement is likely to generate headlines and speculation that the talks between Brown and the GOP are dead. But it's far from clear that Brown has given up on striking a deal under which the GOP would agree to put temporary tax extensions the governor wants on the ballot in exchange for limits on spending and pensions that Repubicans say they want.

A letter from Brown to the top Republican state senator, Bob Dutton, left the door far more open than the governor's public statement. Brown wrote that he is still ready to work with Dutton and wants to refocus discussion -- but that a deal must be concluded quickly.

The governor added a handwritten note at the end of the typed letter.

It read, "Let's get moving!"

(UPDATE: This original post should have noted that the letter was dated Friday, when Republicans released their list).

MORE: In statement issued late Tuesday, Brown said he actually stopped the discussions on Monday.

"Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands." (he underlined the word not)

As for what the governor plans to do next, he said, "Much is at stake, and in the coming weeks I will focus my efforts on speaking directly to Californians and coming up with honest and real solutions to our budget crisis."

Read complete statement here.

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