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CA Democrats oust their own over budget

August 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Democrats kicked Central Valley Democrat Nicole Parra out of her Sacramento office for not going along with the party's budget plan on Sunday."I knew going in Sunday that if I didn't support the budget, something was going to happen," said Parra, (D-Hanford).

The ousting was Parra's punishment from the Assembly Speaker for bucking party lines Sunday night, when she withheld her vote on the Democrats' budget proposal.

Parra vowed to withhold her vote if the Assembly had not addressed the water needs of her parched farm district.

"Is it worth it? Yes, because my district, we need to know. If we don't pass a bond, there may never be a water bond in the next few years," said Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D-Hanford).

While lawmakers have been punished before by being assigned a broom closet-like office within the Capitol, no one has ever been booted to another building across the street.

Republicans consoled Parra during session and were quick to point out the move was a sign of weakness from a Speaker who has been on the job for only a few months.

"To do this in the last several weeks of the Legislative session is just ridiculous. It shows a complete lack of maturity on behalf of the Speaker, and it shows why the Speaker can't get a budget," said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer (R-Orange).

Democrats defended Karen Bass's decision, even if it was only to prove they do not like members straying from the party.

"For anyone to continue to say 'no' to a responsible budget for no other reason ... that they are not able to deliver a water package to corporate/agri-business interests in this state ... is, to me, inexcusable," said Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-Burbank).

None of the Republicans voted for the budget plan either because the Democratic proposal raised taxes to help close the $15 billion deficit. Therefore, Parra's vote would not have altered the Sunday's outcome.

"If we're lucky, maybe temporarily they could plug the gap, but they won't raise as much as projected because the economy is in the tank!" said Assemblyman Roger Niello (R-Assembly Budget Vice-Chairman).

In order for the state budget to pass, six Republicans were previously needed to cross over. Seven Republicans are now needed.

 

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