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Calif. redistricting maps leaning Democratic

June 10, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A bid to extend recent tax hikes failed in the California state senate Friday, eliminating a source of income for the cash-strapped state. Still, Democrats may soon score a political victory.

The nation's first citizens panel was supposed to moderate the California Legislature by drawing new political lines with no regard to party, but in its first test, nothing has changed.

The new citizen commission charged with re-drawing California's political lines unveiled its draft maps. They show the Republican districts of state Senators Sam Blakeslee and Anthony Cannella as leaning more Democratic.

"Adopt the governor's proposal to extend 2010 tax rates or make billions of dollars in additional cuts," said state Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), president of the senate.

That is just what Democrats were hoping for, as the state senate began debating whether to extend the higher sales tax and vehicle license fees until a special election can be held.

Two Republican votes are all that is needed to approve the tax extensions, and the new maps could change some minds.

"It's a time when people least can afford your tax increase. It's an extra $1,000 per family," said state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks).

In the end, temporarily extending the higher tax rates failed.

The draft maps made no difference.

"Why should they? Voting for this tax thing may not be popular in anybody's district," said political analyst Tony Quinn.

Sacramento's continued budget stalemates year after year are finally taking a toll, forcing an adult health daycare center to shut down. It's the seventh in California to close in recent months, bringing tears to two dozen workers who've lost their jobs and nearly 100 patients who now have nowhere to go.

"They need to take care of their people," said Helen Chapman, mother of one of the patients.

"It's been frustrating for me in the past to run into budgetary impasses, not knowing if we're going to get paid, borrowing money from the bank, and playing the game back and forth," said Jim MacDonald, who owns an adult health daycare center.

After June 15, state lawmakers' pay will be docked for every day the state budget is late. And for the first time, this year they will not get back pay.

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