Longer Terms for Núñez, Perata Don’t Merit Cost of Three Elections
Santa Monica, CA — A State Assembly committee approved legislation this morning creating an extra election with a $90 million price tag to open the door for Assembly Speaker Núñez, Senate Pro Tem Perata and other lawmakers to hold onto their office beyond the current term limits. The bill would move California’s presidential primary to February but leave the statewide primary in June; an initiative introduced last Thursday to extend term limits would appear on that February 2008 ballot, allowing termed out politicians to run in June primaries and keep their jobs in November.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) opposes the bill, SB 113 (Calderon), unless it is amended to move the legislative primaries simultaneously. The bill will be heard in a special hearing of the Assembly Elections & Redistricting committee this morning. Núñez has vowed to rush the bill to the governor’s desk.
“California taxpayers shouldn’t be stuck with a $90 million extra election just so Speaker Núñez and Senate Pro Tem Perata can hold on to their power and perks,” said Carmen Balber, consumer advocate with FTCR. “If a February presidential primary is needed to preserve California’s political ego, then legislative primaries should be in February too.”
Previous early March primaries in 1996, 2000, and 2004, included both presidential and state primaries. Bipartisan legislation was signed in 2004 moving the vote back to June.
“Three elections in one year is a taxpayer boondoggle that only makes sense for the careers of termed out legislators who want a job extension,” said Balber. “Term limits may well need reconsideration, but the Legislature should consider the issue in a separate debate, not by using the empty promise of national prominence in the presidential race.”
Eleven other states are proposing to move their presidential primaries to February 5. A twelfth, Florida, would move ahead of that date (and share a Democratic primary with South Carolina), and the Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada dates (for Democrats) are a week or more ahead. If California moves its primary the scheme is likely to backfire by front-loading the entire nomination process and waste $90 million in taxpayer money, said FTCR.
SB 113 passed the Senate last week on a 31 – 5 vote.
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is the state’s leading consumer watchdog group. For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org.