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CALIFORNIA BRIEFING / SACRAMENTO

Legislators plan India trip amid budget woes

October 29, 2008|Patrick McGreevy

Amid warnings that the state's budget has already fallen billions of dollars out of balance, at least seven state senators are planning to leave Nov. 12 for a two-week trip to India to discuss issues including education reform and environmental protection.

Because Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tentatively scheduled a special session starting Nov. 5 to deal with the budget shortfall, Senate leader Don Perata (D-Oakland) has approved the trip on the condition that those who fly overseas return to California if a budget vote is scheduled.

Those planning to take the trip include Sens. Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro), Dave Cox (R-Fair Oaks), Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), Bob Margett (R-Arcadia) and Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles). Sen. Dick Ackerman (R-Irvine) had planned to go, but told organizers he may stay home.

"They are one of the fastest-growing global powers," Kuehl said of India.

"Part of it is to make sure we have California-to-India contacts for business and education exchanges."

Although the lawmakers are paying their way with money from their campaign accounts, Victor Viereck, president of the Universal City/North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said it is "questionable" that legislators are heading to India "at a time like this when we have such budget problems."

-- Patrick McGreevy

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