What will Brown, the Legislature, interest groups, and the press do with the summer now that the big battle is over?
First, exhale. But then, perhaps quickly, gear up for round two.
And the guy in the corner office now faces some choices about whether to stick to his strategy of pragmatic bipartisanship, even after coming up short on the biggest fight he's waged so far.
To hear the governor tell it, of course, it's not for his lack of trying. In fact, the great question to be answered in the weeks and months to come: did Brown's plan -- a package of extended taxes he wanted ratified by voters -- die for lack of Republican clarity on side issues, Democratic refusal to deal on those side issues, or both?
The one thing that the recent debate over who gets to call a California budget balanced has shown... is that perhaps the old system has finally run its course.
For generations, legislators and governors promised that the state's fiscal plan penciled out. But now, in the era of perpetual deficits and polarized politics, traditional budget balancing has been replaced by creative accounting. And maybe what the state needs is a budget cop.
Who says legislators aren't doing a better job these days of spending less of your money? After all, they are spending almost $49,000 a day less.
That's their missing salary and per diem payments, of course.
This week's Capital Notes Podcast features a discussion about the big decision that cut off legislator paychecks, and the impact it's having on negotiations over a state budget.
Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee and Wyatt Buchanan of the San Francisco Chronicle and I also take stock of whether 'Budget Plan A' -- the plan offered by Governor Jerry Brown -- still shows any sign of life, with the new fiscal year now just days away.
Shortly after Senate Republicans, even those who have been negotiating with Governor Jerry Brown, told reporters that they wouldn't vote to conditionally extend Brown's tax package, the so-called "bridge" plan, the leader of the Senate's majority party offered the quote of the day.
"Is Plan A dead?" Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg rhetorically asked about Brown's proposal. "You know, I'll leave it to the governor to announce the wake and the funeral services."
But inside the big domed building just down the street from Chiang's office here in Sacramento it's jeers, not cheers. And the political and legal battle surely to be launched by the actions of the state's chief financial officer add yet another historic footnote to a budget season chock full of noteworthy moments.
The historic veto of the state budget by Governor Jerry Brown may have set the stage for some drama in these final few days before the new fiscal year.
But even though the governor insists that his tax package is still the way to go, a case could be made that Brown and his fellow Democrats might be able to agree on solutions that would cut the projected $10 billion deficit in half.
All eyes are going to be on the state's chief financial officer to see whether he stops paying the salary and expenses of legislators.
The legislative branch has the power of the purse, the executive branch the power to reject those spending plans. A simple part of every civics lesson, rarely on display more clearly than this week in Sacramento.
But also quite clear: a new separation of powers in the Democratic party, one that will need to be sorted out before a state budget is enacted.
This week's Capital Notes Podcast is a look back at a fascinating week that started with no budget... and ended with no budget.
Two top Capitol budget reporters, Kevin Yamamura of the Sacramento Bee and Shane Goldmacher of the Los Angeles Times, stop by to offer some thoughts on everything from the governor's anti-gimmick crusade to the fracas over whether legislators will get paid.