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WHITMAN California Governor(3).JPGRepublican Meg Whitman said this morning that if elected governor she would advocate legislation to withhold lawmakers' salaries and per diem payments when the budget is late.

Whitman, speaking to reporters at a campaign stop in Folsom, said the current budget impasse is "unacceptable," blaming what she said is a lack of leadership at the Capitol.

"The Big Five would have been in the governor's office under my leadership every day," Whitman said. "I would have chained them to the desk to get this done."

It was unclear how the former eBay CEO might coerce lawmakers to meet with her more often than they do with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, or to what end.

When asked why she believes she is in any better position than the current governor to negotiate with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, Whitman said only, "This is about leadership."

Schwarzenegger said at a press conference later today that he is supportive of withholding lawmaker pay, but he said the likelihood of such legislation passing is doubtful.

"We have tried that," he said. "I've been talking about that for years."

Proposition 25, which would reduce from two-thirds to a majority the vote required to adopt a budget, also includes a provision that would deny lawmaker salaries and expense payments -- without reimbursement -- when the budget is late.

Whitman opposes reducing the two-thirds threshold, believing it is an "important taxpayer protection that she believes needs to remain in place" spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said. Whitman has no official position on Proposition 25.

This morning's event, at fuel-cell maker Altergy Systems, was Whitman's third campaign stop in Folsom.

"I like Folsom," she said. "It's a good place to be."

She told about 50 people, most of them Altergy employees, that she would post an electronic billboard outside the governor's office showing how many jobs California is losing to other states.

PHOTO CREDIT: GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman discusses her campaign with workers of Altergy Systems after touring the fuel cell manufacturing plant in Folsom today. (AP Photo/ Rich Pedroncelli)



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