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Assembly Speaker Perez attacks governor for budget and its timing

May 17, 2010 |  1:50 pm

Three days after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger detailed his budget plans, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez assaulted the governor’s “job-killing, hyper-partisan proposal” as a spending plan that would deal “a body blow to a fragile economy.”

The Los Angeles Democrat called governor’s demand that non-spending items be part of budget talks – such as pension and tax system overhauls – “shameful Sacramento backroom deals at its worst.” He derided the spending plan as “reflective of a narrow, right-wing view” and Schwarzenegger as too stubborn for insisting on his getting his way. “That’s the kind of negotiation that is better suited to third-graders haggling over the content of a lunch box not for leaders of an economic engine for the entire United States,” Perez said, adding in the next breath that, “We need serious solutions not sound bites.”

But Perez was in a far more defensive crouch when asked about skipping out of Sacramento on Friday when the governor presented his budget plan. Perez spent the day in Pebble Beach, mingling with the state Democratic Party’s biggest contributors, who were asked for up to $60,000 to attend the two-day golfing affair. “Yes, I was there,” Perez said.

He then tried to parry blame in the governor’s direction. “I think the question becomes: Why did the governor choose that day to release his May revise?” The answer, according to the governor’s office, is state law, which requires the governor update his spending plan by May 14. In Schwarzenegger’s seven years in office, he has proposed his May budget proposal three times on May 14, twice on May 13 and once each on May 12 and May 11. But Perez didn’t seem to buy that. “I don’t think the timing was coincidental,” he said. “I think it was proven to be really a good opportunity for the governor to make ugly proposals and dump the trash on a Friday and then try to distract you from talking about where I was instead of what the substance of his proposals are."

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento