Parra Punished for Not Backing Proposal

August 18, 2008 7:07:37 PM PDT
There is still no budget for California. This is day 49 without an agreement, and things are getting ugly and personal at the state capitol.

On moday, the new speaker of the house punished a member of her own party, for not going along with the Democrats' budget proposal.

Republicans have taken a lot of hisses for not supporting a state budget that raises taxes. It turns out that the Democratic votes aren't there either, all while schools, health care programs and others are still waiting for state funding that's now seven weeks late.

"I knew going in Sunday that if I didn't support the budget, something was going to happen," said Assemblywoman Nicole Parra (D) Hanford.

In the latest twist to the State Budget saga, Central Valley Democrat Nicole Parra and her staff were booted out of their Capitol office today.

It's her punishment from the Assembly Speaker for bucking party lines last night when she withheld her vote on the Democrats' budget proposal.

The termed-out moderate had vowed to do so if the Assembly had not addressed the water needs of her parched farming 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 Parra.

While lawmakers have been punished before by being assigned a broom closet-like office within the Capitol, no one's 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's 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.

Parra's vote wouldn't have made a difference anyway.

None of the Republicans voted 'yes' either because the Democratic proposal raised taxes to help close the $15 Billion deficit.

"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) Sacramento.

The bottom line is six Republicans were needed to cross over to pass a state budget in the Assembly. Now seven are needed, making this stalemate seemingly never-ending.


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