Recent independent reports suggest that state government agencies and departments routinely spend on programs and projects with little accountability to taxpayers, failing to consider what is the most efficient and effective way to stretch tax dollars to the fullest.
Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in state government is essential to our efforts to solve California's long-term budget problems once and for all.
Below are a few examples of government waste highlighted by nonpartisan government watchdogs and independent state auditors. These examples only scratch the surface of the billions of dollars in ongoing wasteful and fraudulent state spending.
Examples of fraud and abuse
California spends $1.37 million on ObamaCare web stream featuring Richard Simmons
“Facing a $78 million budget shortfall, California’s ObamaCare exchange has spent $1.37 million to fund an outreach video featuring exercise guru Richard Simmons gyrating on the floor and hugging a contortionist who is kneeling with his buttocks in the air.”
“Just about everyone agrees that the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is a case study in how politics can turn even the most urgent task into a drawn-out, overly expensive nightmare. ...Still, with every change and every delay, the cost went up - and up and up, from $1.3 billion, to $3 billion, to more than $6 billion.”
“In fact, from the get-go, the governor and state transportation officials decided that the biggest Caltrans mess-up in modern times was not to be covered by the 100-plus-page report.”
“Caltrans will be spending a whopping $10 million this year to keep an eye on those questionable bolts holding together the new $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge. And transportation insiders tell us that $10 million could just be the start.”
“The simple fact is that there’s no way the project as presently constituted can meet the restrictions of the voter-approved bonds – limits that were designed to protect taxpayers’ interests. Voters were told that state financial exposure would be limited and that the federal government and private investors would put up most of the money. However, the feds have committed only a few billion dollars and there is absolutely nothing else on the horizon. Meanwhile, the tiny approval margin of the bond issue has morphed into strong opposition in statewide polls as costs have escalated and project management has proven erratic.”
“The plug has been pulled on one of the biggest boondoggles in California history - the effort to build a $2 billion computer system linking the state's 58 county courts. It never worked, and some say it was doomed from the start. The program had run so amok, according to the state auditor, that one of the subcontracts had 102 change orders, pushing that one bill alone from $33 million to $310 million.”
“…officials scuttled a massive overhaul of the state’s payroll system known as the 21st Century Project. The job was $250 million over budget and four years behind schedule. A test run in the California State Controller’s Office revealed glaring flaws in software designed by SAP Public Services, the Washington, D.C.-based firm chosen for the work.”
“California is spending nearly $15 million to build 10 hydrogen fueling stations, even though just 227 hydrogen-powered vehicles exist in the state today. It's a hefty bet on the future, given that government officials have been trying for nine years, with little success, to get automakers to build more hydrogen cars.”
“Only one out of five bidders to design and build the first phase of California’s high-speed rail project will win the $1.8 billion contract — but they will all get paid.”
Following the discovery of nearly $54 million in hidden funds by the Parks Department, the Los Angeles Times reported another abuse of taxpayer money by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). The Department set up an account with the California District Attorneys Association instead of depositing it into the General Fund. Since 2005, Cal Fire officials have hidden nearly $3.6 million, even while the Legislature and Governor Brown implemented the $150 fire tax to cover the Department’s budget gaps.