California’s budget crisis has claimed the position of another legislative leader.

The state Assembly’s Republican leader, Mike Villines resigned his leadership post yesterday after losing the support of his caucus, according to published reports.

Villines, from Clovis in the Central Valley, came under fire within his party for his role in negotiating a budget compromise in February that at least temporarily patched the state’s budget deficit with a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

Other Republicans criticized him for agreeing to the tax hikes.

Republicans are the minority party in both houses in California, but the budget deal required a two-thirds vote, and Villines supplied one of the three GOP votes needed to adopt the budget.

The Republican leader in the Senate, Dave Cogdill, was overthrown by his caucus before the budget was even adopted, though he supplied one of the votes needed for passage.

The GOP caucus yesterday elected Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo to replace Villines as leader, effective June 1.

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