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Local Lawmakers Working Overtime On Late Budget

The 80-member Assembly and 40-member State Senate is working late Thursday, doing some creative math to close a $26 billion gap.

Freshman Assemblyman Manuel Perez spoke to us from Sacramento.

“There seems to be a frenzy up here,” says Perez. “A lot of us just got up here late last night, as I did, or early today.”

When asked if he was tired, Perez replied, “A little bit, but everybody’s being briefed.”

The governor smiled in his announcement of a preliminary deal earlier this week. He even toyed around with a giant knife in an online video.

“You send a governor to Sacramento that’s not el stiffo like some of the past ones. You send someone who’s a little more entertaining,” Gov. Schwarzenegger said in the video.

But with deep cuts to nearly every state-funded service, other local legislators aren’t happy. Some are outright angry.

State Senator Denise Ducheny’s district includes the eastern Coachella Valley.

“The frustration is we offered alternatives to this that the governor refused,” Senator Ducheny said.”Why not close some of these really abusive corporate tax loopholes where we allow people to sell property here and not pay taxes on their capital gains through they’re taking money from the state — to reinvest the money in Arizona and we still give them a tax break? That’s lunacy.”

Local Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestande is new to Sacramento. He says he’s discovering an old lesson in politics: procrastination.

“We’re pushing some of it to the local government and we’re still using some gimmicks,”explained Nestande.”I think we should just be upfront and say we’re not closing the whole deficit. We’re still losing $5, 6 billion that we’re not closing. But we’ll take the next couple of months to tackle that. Instead, we’re trying to hide that.”

If you want to reach your local legislator to tell them what you think about the state budget, call the following numbers:

State Senator Denise Ducheny’s district includes Indio, Coachella, Mecca and North Shore. Her office is at: (916) 651-4040. You can email her at http://dist40.casen.govoffice.com/.

State Senator John Benoit’s district includes the rest of the Coachella Valley. His office is at: (916) 651-4037. You can email him athttp://cssrc.us/web/37/.

Assemblyman Manuel Perez’s district includes Cathedral City, Indio, Coachella, Mecca and North Shore. His office is at: (916) 319-2080. You can email him at http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a80/.

Assemblyman Brian Nestande’s district includes the rest of the Coachella Valley. His office is at: (916) 319-2064. You can email him athttp://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/64/.

KESQ News Team

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