Senator: Legislative pay hikes could hurt tax plan

8:00 PM, Aug 6, 2012   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) - The leader of the state Senate says he had "a few sleepless nights" during lawmakers' summer break worrying that pay raises given to legislative staffers could undermine Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative in November.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg defended the raises to more than 1,000 legislative employees on Monday. But he said he also recognizes they could hurt Democrats' effort to pass an initiative that would temporarily raise income and sales taxes.

The revelation led to widespread outrage because the raises were handed out as lawmakers were making deep budget cuts. Opponents already are using the raises as ammunition against the tax proposal.

Steinberg says he felt the state could afford the raises when he authorized them a year ago.

The Associated Press

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