NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

PORK SPENDING SHOULD MAKE CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS SQUEAL

December 16, 2004

California has a long road ahead in fixing its $15 billion budget deficit. However, it can start by eliminating $12.9 billion in wasteful spending, says Citizens Against Government Waste.

CAGW's recently released California Piglet Book details numerous examples of how California's bureaucrats have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars. Among the examples:

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District is now the subject of a federal grand jury investigation over its $74.5 million purchase of a downtown high-rise building for its administrative headquarters; the charge alleges that it overpaid for the building to bail out investors.
  • City officials in San Francisco preside over a payroll budget that grew 14 percent from 1996 to 2003 (to $2 billion) and added 4,000 new positions; meanwhile, residential satisfaction with city services has declined over the years.
  • San Diego's Data Processing Corp., a city-owned entity responsible for the city's computing and telecommunication needs, has a budget of $68 million for 2004, yet has been accused of wasting money on executive parties, drinking, traveling and dining -- all at taxpayer expense.

Moreover, waste and abuse is not confined to the state's local governments. Indeed, state bureaucrats have a few black marks of their own, says CAGW. For example:

  • More than $2 billion set aside for California's roads has been siphoned into the general fund since the 2001-2002 budget, leaving needed transportation projects backed up while taxpayers endure daily traffic congestion.
  • The state's Department of Corrections was cited in an audit earlier this year for overpaying for contracted services, such as health care, while pay raises for guards are expected to exceed 37 percent over the next two years.

Source: Tom Finnigan, "CAGW Releases 2004 California Piglet Book," Citizens Against Government Waste, Nov. 16, 2004; and "2004 California Piglet Book," Citizens Against Government Waste and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, November 16, 2004.

 

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