June 08, 2011 8:59 AM
Natasha Lindstrom
Staff Writer

The Victor Valley’s Republican state representatives on Tuesday blasted Gov. Jerry Brown’s renewed pitch to reduce prison overcrowding through a “realignment” plan that relies on five-year tax hikes.

The plan, Assembly Bill 109, was passed by the state Legislature and signed into law this spring, but its language states it will only take effect if properly funded.

The plan would shift the responsibility for managing and supervising tens of thousands of low-level felons from the state to county sheriffs.

Assemblyman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, criticized Brown for being “disingenuous” by telling voters the tax extensions he says are crucial to comply with federal orders to reduce the state prison population are temporary.

Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, similarly called Brown’s pitch “part of the administration’s political drill to make a case for tax increases, which are not needed.”

But Elizabeth Ashford, spokeswoman for Brown, said by blocking the tax hikes Republicans are going to force the state to cut deeply into health and education programs that have already been cut to the bone in recent years. She added the realignment plan is based on strong social science research and data showing that there’s a lower chance of recidivism when prisoners are housed locally.

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