Gatto appointed to Appropriations Committee

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) was appointed this week as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, where he will have significant sway over funding decisions, including those that could benefit the 43rd district.

House Speaker John Perez made the appointment because Gatto is a “talented legislator” who can gather support from both parties, said Perez' press secretary, John Vigna.

“It's a position that requires someone who is thoughtful, deliberative and has the respect of the members,” Vigna said.

Gatto was first elected to the Legislature in 2010 and is running for re-election in November against Glendale Unified School District Board member Greg Krikorian. The 43rd District has been realigned and now includes La Cañada Flintridge as well as Glendale and Burbank.

Vigna said Perez also wanted someone who could handle difficult situations that can arise during the long committee hearings, which can last 10 to 12 hours and spark intense debate.

Gatto, who serves as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore in the current session and already sits on the Appropriations Committee, said he's proud to be selected to take the committee's reins and will bring “fiscal-mindedness” to his new post.

“I want to make sure that the fiscal consequences of any action are always understood and taken into consideration,” he said.

The first hearing Gatto will chair will take place Thursday, when the committee will hear 30 bills that have been placed in the “suspense file,” the parking spot for any bill with an annual cost of more than $150,000.

Gatto estimated that around 80% of all bills go through the Appropriations Committee. He said he wants to make sure he treats lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fairly

“There's no monopoly on good ideas,” he said.

Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter @LAMarkKellam

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