After three hours of debate, the Associated Students Legislative Council unanimously approved the 2006-07 A.S. Budget at its meeting Wednesday night, while one member of the council chose to resign her post.

The $690,067.95 budget will be distributed between various A.S. entities, including executive officers’ budgets and A.S. boards such as Media Relations. President Chaz Whatley presented the budget after working on it for the past five weeks.

Council members made several changes to the budget, including allocations given to the Commission on Public Safety, Leg Council, Elections Committee, Media Relations Committee, the external vice president of local affairs, the internal vice president, the Office of the A.S. President and the local affairs organizing director.

In addition, the council revoked funding provided to the Technology Committee in Whatley’s version of the budget.

At the beginning of the council’s meeting, Off-campus Rep Sarah Burstein chose to resign with a public statement chiding the council. Burstein said she resigned after reading comments in the Daily Nexus that some council members had made about her commitment to the board.

During last week’s meeting, council members debated Burstein’s removal from Leg Council, citing her number of unexcused absences. Burstein did not attend last week’s meeting, having informed Internal Vice President Adam Graff that she was ill. Although Burstein originally received an excused absence for her illness, council members voted to reopen the agenda to make her absence unexcused.

Council members who miss two meetings are automatically put up for removal. At the beginning of last week’s meeting, Burstein had no unexcused absences.

“No one needs a public reprimand or to read about themselves,” Burstein said. “We should respect each other as students of a university. I can’t support a group that conducts itself in that manner. I wish I could have finished off the year.”

After addressing the board, Burstein removed her nameplate from the table and silently walked out the door with a group of friends. After she left, the council made no remarks about her speech.

As for budgetary matters, Whatley said A.S. will be under severe financial constraint next year, as approximately $60,000 had to be subtracted from the budget this year to fund a pay increase for A.S. staff members. The University of California Regents mandated this pay increase a few years ago, but A.S. staffers deferred the pay increase at the time, citing A.S.’s limited budget.

However, A.S. was directed by Chancellor Henry Yang to pay the increase this year.

“I was once told that budgets are moral documents,” Whatley said. “We are in a financial crisis. … We can’t function at full capacity with a budget this meager.”

Graff, who has sat on Leg Council for the past three years, cautioned the board to carefully consider allocations. He described next year’s budget as minimal in comparison to previous years.

“Adjustments have to be made very carefully because we have to fund infrastructure if we are expected to run,” Graff said. “This is the sorriest budget I’ve ever seen, and I can’t believe we’re in such financial straits.”

During the meeting, a series of minor allocation adjustments were made, redistributing funds between 10 boards and committees, which resulted in the unallocated fund – used by A.S. Finance Board – being raised from $2,002.95 to $5,002.95.

One such committee, the Commission on Public Safety, was given $195 out of the A.S Legislative Council fund, after the original budget had allocated it no money.

Off-campus Rep Amelia Holstrom said granting the organization fiscal aid would be a smart move for the council, because C.O.P.S. had been very efficient and functioned well this year.

“$190 would be excellent to go to C.O.P.S., which is a super important committee,” Holstrom said.

However, Rep-at-large Raymond Meza argued that allocations should not be distributed based on an organization’s productivity.

“I would like to problematize a certain assumption,” Meza said. “We should be asking ourselves, ‘Should we be equating money to productivity?’ Because there are groups outside of A.S with little or no money that do a lot of work.”

The council continued debating several other allocations, but after considerable time had passed, Whatley demanded that the council approve the budget.

“We need a base fee increase – that’s the only way we will have enough money for everyone,” Whatley said. “Everything you have done for the past three hours, I’ve been doing for the past five weeks. This is the best it’s going to get and I would encourage you to pass this budget.”

Immediately following her remark, the council passed the budget with consent and then proceeded to a closed session.