Jerry Brown to Lighten Lawmaker's Wallets

Attorney general allows the state to cut lawmaker pay by 18 percent next month

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Nov 20, 2009  |  Updated 1:00 PM PDT
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Jerry Brown to Lighten Lawmaker's Wallets

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Jerry Brown penned a slasher of a legal opinion, cutting lawmaker pay in California.

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Lawmakers angered over state plans to cut their pay by 18 percent sooner rather than later turned to Attorney General Jerry Brown in the hopes he'd agree that the move was illegal.

Brown's legal opinion? Go ahead, cut my pay and that of almost every other politician in Sacramento!

It's the kind of populist move that's got appeal to both sides of the aisle -- at least, among voters. Republicans actually serving in the Assembly and Senate might beg to disagree.

Brown pointed to voter approval of Proposition 112 in 1990, which allowed the Citizen's Compensation Committee to adjust lawmaker payroll annually. Considering the language of that measure:

Any other interpretation would require assuming against all evidence that the voters in 1990 intended mid-term annual adjustments to only go up and never down, even in the face of a faltering economy and huge budget deficits.

Brown has yet to offer an opinion on an 18 percent cut in per diem and expense allowances, with a spokesperson for his office suggesting that issue was "more complicated," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Jackson West has to hand it to Jerry, glove save and a beaut after the taped interview gaffe.

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