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Democrat Jerome Horton is appointed to state tax board [Updated]

July 16, 2009 |  3:46 pm

[Updated at 5:19 p.m.: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Jerome Horton, a business-friendly former Democratic lawmaker, to the state’s tax board.]

The pick probably will shift the balance of power on the tax panel, which, despite its low public profile, holds broad influence over corporate taxes.

Horton’s appointment is a coup for California’s business lobby, which has regular dealings with the state Board of Equalization.

Horton, who was termed out of the state Assembly after six years in 2006, will replace Judy Chu, a liberal Monterey Park Democrat elected to Congress on Tuesday. Horton ran against Chu in the 2006 Democratic primary to represent the Los Angeles-area tax district and lost by 18 percentage points.

Reliably liberal Democrats have formed a solid three-person majority on the five-member tax panel in recent years. But the moderate Horton, who was known during his tenure in Sacramento for abstaining from votes to keep himself in the political center, is expected to change that dynamic.

Horton, whose appointment must be confirmed by both houses of the Democratic-controlled Legislature, can serve until 2010. He would then be eligible to run for a full term. He previously worked as staff member for the tax board for two decades.

—Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento