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Taxpayer Group Critical Of State For Buying Elected Officials New Cars

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The state is drawing criticism from taxpayer groups for buying California's top elected officials new hybrid cars while many ordinary residents still struggle financially.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that the state recently bought 20 cars, many Ford Fusion Hybrids, for use by state Senators while in Sacramento. The newspaper reports that eight of the cars cost nearly $24,000 each, and they replace some cars with just 12,400 miles.

Brian Ferguson of the state's Department of General Services defended the purchases, saying many cars replace older-model sedans in an effort to green the state's fleet.

National Tax Limitation Committee president Lew Uhler says lawmakers should drive less expensive cars, especially when Democratic lawmakers complain there isn't enough money to pay for some social service programs.

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