California Assembly Budgets Understate Spending by at Least $17.1 million

Conflict recently arose in the California assembly when Assembly
Member Anthony Portantino accused Speaker John Perez of cutting his office’s
budget for voting against party lines on a recent measure.  Perez maintains that the cuts were made
because Portantino’s office spent in excess of its allotted budget by nearly
$70,000.   Their disagreement is
difficult to evaluate because the Assembly Rules Committee has not released the
relevant data on Assembly Members’ Offices’ spending.  

Realizing this difficulty, the California Common Sense (CACS) research
team has looked into the data that the Rules Committee has made public.  We found two important data sources: the
annual budgets for Assembly Member offices, published by the Rules Committee
for 2009-2010, and information on Assembly Members’ staffers’ annual salaries,
published on the Assembly website and last updated on May 3, 2011.  We compared the information from these
sources to judge how complete an image of Assembly Members Offices’ spending
they provide.