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State Treasurer Bill Lockyer voiced a fear that many Democrats hold privately -- that the high price paid to corral the final GOP vote for the budget could set a poor precedent for future negotiations.

"Frankly, I think this is just the beginning of serious budget holdups in the future," Lockyer, a Democrat and former Senate leader, told Greg Lucas of California's Capitol. "If you're willing to rewrite the constitution to get a needed vote, the antes will only keep going up.

That's a reference to deciding Republican vote, Sen. Abel Maldonado, who received a constitutional amendment on a future ballot to rewrite the state's elections law.

Lockyer, the state's banker, also spoke about the state's bond rating. California has the lowest such rating in the nation, which he blames, in part, on Wall Street.

"The fact is our rating is the lowest of all the states. It's not fair but it's the rating we've got. I've argued with the rating agencies on that but they claim their ratings are being responsive to investors," he said. "If they're being responsive to investors then they want us to have a bad rating so the investors get a better yield. They're helping rip us off, in effect."


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