Southern California -- this just in

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California budget deal is too much to process today, some say

July 23, 2009 | 12:39 pm

The deal to solve California’s budget problem makes up 28 pieces of legislation, with hundreds of pages of  technical language, and some of the state’s leading voices are objecting that the massive material is being given to lawmakers just hours before a possible vote.

"I haven’t seen some of the bills yet. It’s going too fast," said state Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster) in a phone interview. "There are some very controversial issues and the language is important. We’ve done some of our worst work when we hurry.’’

He noted that the Senate was scheduled to begin meeting on the bills at 2 p.m., although the Senate leader’s office said legislation is unlikely to be taken up before 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, a group of 10 taxpayer advocates and conservative activists is protesting what it believes is a lack of transparency in the budget process, calling on Republican lawmakers -- the minority in the Legislature -- to insist that the package be provided in writing 72 hours before a vote.

"It has become abundantly clear that some members of the majority party do not intend to operate in the interest of good faith and full disclosure," the group said in a letter. "This has been proven by the lack of a written, publicly disclosed budget plan which would allow members of the legislature, the media and the public to have the ability to read.’’

Those signing the letter include Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn.; Lew Uhler, chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee; and Mike Spense, representative of the California Taxpayer Protection Committee.

Sen. John Benoit (R-Palm Desert) predicted there would be a move by Republicans to delay action on the bills, which could still result in some bills being acted on less than 24 hours after they were received.

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento