Some Calif. lawmakers reject budget for lack of transparency

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The Assembly began voting on the state budget today — a budget that’s 99 days late. If history repeats itself, Sacramento lawmakers will stay up all night to pass the spending plan. But, some lawmakers refuse to support the budget because they don’t know what’s in it.

Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-LA) promised his colleagues that this year, they’d get a chance to review the budget closely before they had to vote on it. Tell that to Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point).

“This bill crossed the desk at 9:36 this morning. It is three books, as you can see.” Harkey said as she brandished the inches-thick printout of the budget bill. “I’ve not had any time to even look at it, so I can’t extol its virtue or proclaim anything wrong with it. I simply can’t vote under these circumstances.”

Republican Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) agreed.

“I look at this packet that was on our desk as we walked in this morning that contains the budget bill,” Jeffries said. “We talk about open and transparent government and we now have 30 minutes, an hour to digest all of this to make a multi-billion decision.”

Lawmakers got more time to digest the contents. A vote on the main budget bill failed to pass. The Assembly recessed to give legislative leaders time to hunt down more votes.