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Democratic leaders split over tax breaks for business

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata released this letter late Thursday protesting an apparent decision by Assembly Democrats to agree to a series of business tax breaks sought by Assembly Republicans.

The Honorable Fabian Núñez

Speaker of the State Assembly

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I am alarmed and dismayed by rumors that you are considering a half a billion dollars in tax breaks for special interests.

As you and I well know, Democrats have sacrificed funding for education, have postponed a meager cost-of-living increase for the state's most vulnerable disabled residents - the aged, blind and disabled, and have barely thwarted deeper cuts to education and higher education. Even the increases we proposed to the state's Prop 36 program - aimed at keeping non-violent drug offenders out of prison and putting them into treatment programs - has fallen victim to concerns about the state's long-term deficit.

But most ironic, we have surrendered $185m in teacher tax credits to balance the budget!!! How could you now throw them over for Hollywood movie moguls and multi-national corporations???

Our out-year budget problem is already $5.5 billion dollars. We cannot continue to fund education, higher education and crucial human services issues, such as the in-home supportive services program, childcare, or funding for the aged, blind and disabled by providing tax giveaways.

I am deeply disappointed and saddened by your actions - and hope you will reconsider.