CA Republicans Punish Budget Voters

February 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
California Republicans are taking a stand against the state budget by reprimanding some of their own.Sunday, the California Republican Party approved a measure to deny campaign funding for the six GOP lawmakers who voted for the largest tax increase in state history.

People who support this measure said it sends a strong message to Republicans who broke their no-tax pledge. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers said if they didn't pass the budget, the consequences would far outweigh a tax increase.

The California Republican Party's spring meeting ended Sunday with what some are calling a controversial move. They approved a measure that will deny campaign funding for the six GOP leaders who voted for a state budget that includes nearly $13-billion dollars in temporary tax increases.

The Fresno County Republican Party chairman said the measure won't have a significant fiscal impact. But, it does have a symbolic one. "This vote was not really to reprimand. I think it was a sentiment that we need to send a message that lawmakers who voted for the taxes, we need to send some sort of message," said A.P. Sindhu with the California Republican Party.

Among those six lawmakers, Assembly Minority Leader, Mike Villines of Clovis, who defended his decision. "Most of our colleagues and our party say let it go off the cliff and I understand that desire. I would have loved to do that. But going off the cliff actually means that all of the bills still have to be paid (cut to) it would be descending chaos. That would cost more than what we did," said Assm. Villines (R) Clovis.

Villines said raising taxes was a tough decision. But, he said the temporary setback will give California the long-term solution it needs. "A $42-billion dollar problem we solve for two years with a temporary taxes. But, for that, we now have the chance for long-term structural changes. A spending cap, a rainy day fund that will never let it grow more than five-percent," said Villines.

"I don't think this is the real solution. I think what we really need to is. We need to start looking at the problem for next year from now. How will we fix, what is working, what is not working, where we can cut, where we can not cut in that direction because taxes are not the solution for everything," said Sindhu.

The Republican Party's measure affects two of the six lawmakers who are eligible for re-election; Senator Dave Cogdill of Modesto and Assemblyman Anthony Adams of Hesperia.

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