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Schwarzenegger spokesman compares Capitol Democrats to Bell City Council

August 18, 2010 | 11:25 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not said whether he will sign a bill that would give tax refunds to Bell residents who were overcharged by their city, but an aide said there are parallels between what happened in that Southern California city and the action of Democrats in the current state budget dispute.

The state controller determined that Bell city officials illegally raised the property taxes in 2007 to impose a "retirement tax" to cover rising pension costs for its employees. Democratic Assemblymen Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles and Hector De La Torre of South Gate introduced AB 900 on Wednesday to allow tax refunds to go back to the owners of 4,000 Bell properties.

“What happened in Bell is not unlike what Democrats in the Capitol are trying to do: increase taxes to pay for public employee pensions," said Matt Connelly, a spokesman for the governor.

 -- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento