Patt Morrison for July 12, 2011

Payback for Portantino? Democratic Assemblyman claims retribution in Sacramento

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Max Whittaker/Getty Images

California State Assembly Republican leader Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo) (L), and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) shake hands as they finalize a solution to the state's budget problem in 2009. This year, however, Portantino voted "no" on the budget deal.

Sacramento, much like Washington D.C., can be a vicious place where the players have long memories. Just ask Anthony Portantino: the Democratic assembly member representing Pasadena was the lone Democrat to vote against the majority budget that was eventually passed into law last month and as a result, he claims, he’s having his staff budget slashed. The Assembly Rules Committee informed Assemblymember Portantino late last week that his budget will be cut and that his Capitol and district staff could be placed on unpaid leave for more than a month in the fall. Portantino’s Democratic colleagues claim that everyone’s budget has been cut and that Portantino took no actions to reduce his expenditures. On the flip side there’s a history of retribution in Sacramento when a lawmaker bucks the party establishment—committee posts are taken away, members are moved to smaller offices. Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, the chair of the Rules Committee, called Portantino “a bit paranoid” and said that his office budget was $67,179 in deficit. Portantino has until the end of this week to give a plan on how he’ll balance his staff budget. Is this old fashioned payback or simply the new era of scaled back budgets?

Guest:

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, D-44th District (Pasadena); he was the lone “no” Democratic vote on the budget deal in late June


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