Last May, Governor Jerry Brown threatened to close 70 state parks in order to help balance the budget and plug the holes of the sinking ship that is California.
Immediately, park-loving activists went to work and through bake sales and donations, the public helped save 69 of the 70 parks.
But then, oops---California auditors recently looked under their government couch cushions and located over $286 million in “misplaced” funds.
From the L.A. Times (emphasis added): “Gov. Jerry Brown's administration on Friday announced that $119 million more in untapped money was found in a sweeping audit of state accounts, bringing to more than $286.5 million the sum lawmakers were unaware of as they repeatedly cut government services…The additional money that lawmakers were unaware of includes funds for healthcare programs, reimbursement of crime victims and cleanup of underground petroleum tanks.”
“Unaware of”?? Even if I won the lottery and became a gazillionaire, I can’t imagine not being aware of $286.5 million.
A Mercury News review found at least 17 accounts that “appeared to have significantly more serve cash than what individual departments reported to the finance department.”
This sudden bounty of cash is causing a few more headaches for Brown.
For one, the activists, local governments and non-profits that collected money to save the state parks are now asking for refunds.
"There was a sense of betrayal," said Carolyn Schoff, head of the California League of Parks Associations, an alliance of nonprofits. "We're the ones in the trenches raising funds for state parks, and now there's a dark shadow over us."
Another problem is the obvious—how in the world can one state “misplace” so much money? Lots of finger wagging is happening, with each department scrambling to place blame elsewhere.
One of the largest discrepancies occurred within the Public Utilities Commission, which regulates telecommunications and energy services.
A spokeswoman for the commission said the accounting discrepancies are probably only "recording errors."
Democrat lawmakers are saying the audit “would not have changed how the state pieced together its budget this year”—yet these same lawmakers have used the funds to pay bills and according to the Times, the Legislature now owes them $4.3 billion (with a ‘b’), “a nearly sixfold increase since 2008.”
These major monetary discrepancies perfectly explain why Republicans are constantly screaming and shouting about “big government”. Any state that is so out of control that it can misplace enormous amounts of money—making politicians and Union fat cats richer and richer while her cities are filing bankruptcy--needs a major dose of checks and balances.
The good news in all of this is that perhaps these mishaps will result in some job openings to help boost California’s rising unemployment rate. I suggest they start by hiring a few good accountants--and maybe an Oversight Committee or two.
On a personal note--because I live here in La La Land-- I remain ever hopeful that the good citizens of California will finally see the light and will stop voting for the same old Democrats who seem intent on running this beautiful state further into the abyss.