Melody Gutierrez
Updated 1:39 am, Tuesday, June 17, 2014

(06-16) 18:47 PDT Sacramento — Republican state lawmakers had a lot to say about the state budget, saying it contained “insidious” back-room deals, spent too much and saved too little. But, their opinions were all they had. Their votes weren’t needed.

Republicans have been largely marginalized in the California Legislature since voters approved Prop. 25 to lower the threshold for passing a spending plan. The change occurred just as Democrats were increasing their footprint in both houses.

The result is this: Democratic lawmakers crafted a budget for their Democratic governor to sign.

“Is it good to have a budget adopted by one party versus bipartisan involvement in crafting the budget?” asked Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce. “I think we’ll have to evaluate that in a few years when we’ve had more experience with it.”

One thing was certain Monday, Democrats are celebrating a surge in their electorate power, with data from the Secretary of State showing 43 percent of the California’s nearly 18 million voters were registered as Democrats as of May. Just over 28 percent were registered as Republicans, while 21 percent say they have no party preference.

On Monday, the Senate elected its next leader – Sen. Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, who becomes the first Latino leader in the upper house since 1883.

Hours before, the California Democratic Party unveiled a state-of-the-art $830,000 headquarters paid for in cash at a Sacramento event that brought out some of the state’s highest ranking politicians, including Democrats Gov. Jerry Brown, Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, Attorney General Kamala Harris, Senate President Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg of Sacramento and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego.

“I’ve seen the Democratic Party for all of my life, and never has it had such a following,” Brown said before praising party leader John Burton.

Brown has until June 30 to act on the budget, which he praised prior to it passing.

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