The state of California is facing a $20 billion deficit. And, during his first days as speaker of the state assembly, Los Angeles Democrat John Perez got to work … giving more of your money to his staff.

That's right, one of Perez's first orders of business was to approve thousands of dollars in raises for eight of his his staff members, including an extra $65,000 a year to chief of staff Sara I. Ramirez, according to the Sacramento Bee. Now Ramirez gets $190,008, which is about $80,000 more than Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg.

Her salary matches that of outgoing speaker Karen Bass' chief of staff. The Bee reports that between Bass' last-minute raises for 20 of her staffers and Perez's own salary hikes, the assembly leadership changeover will cost you $216,000 per year in extra salary costs.

Keep in mind here that the state is awash in red ink, state colleges and universities are facing record tuition and fee hikes, and thousands of K-12 teachers across California will likely lose their jobs as a result of the Golden State's budget crisis.

While $216,000 is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions that the state needs to stay afloat, it's a symbolic amount that says your arrogant state leaders — unable for years to balance California's budget — just don't give a damn about your tax dollars. Rather, they take them — and your votes — for granted.

LA Weekly