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Smyth to chair local government panel

Politics: Assemblyman will be the first Republican to lead committee since 1996

Posted: March 19, 2010 10:42 p.m.
Updated: March 20, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Cameron Smyth

 
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth has been named chairman of the California Local Government Committee which, among other things, examines how state legislation affects city tax revenue.

Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, was appointed by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles, on Thursday and will be the first Republican to lead the committee since 1996.

"The speaker provided more balance to our committees and I think that will help develop better policy and better legislation," Smyth said.

Smyth, who served on the Santa Clarita City Council from 2000 to 2006, said his experience on the council has shaped his belief that cities should have control over their finances without the state redirecting how city revenue is spent.

"From a budgetary standpoint, every year on the (City Council) we had to wait and see if the state would tap local revenue this coming budget year," Smyth said. "Local government funding will be on the table again and I'm going to try and use my local influence to keep local governments whole."

And the state took about $4 million from Santa Clarita in 2009-2010, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

"At these critical times it was important for me to have a chair in that committee who cares deeply about looking out for local government," Perez said.

Perez, who also appointed Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, to chair the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, said appointing Republicans to lead these committees will provide greater balance in the state legislature by providing more representation for conservative points of view.

"I'll be looking at legislation very closely that impacts locals financially from a policy standpoint," Smyth said. "I'm a big believer in local control and the city of Santa Clarita is great example of what can be done at the local level."

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