California departments hoarding more than $2.3 billion
July 27, 2012
While California legislators vote to cut funding to schools and healthcare, state departments have underreported more than $2.3 billion, according to a analysis of 500 special funds by the Mercury News.
Following the discovery that state parks had underreported $54 million in its disclosures to the California Department of Finance, the state began reviewing the more than 500 special funds across state government to verify that departments have provided identical fiscal information to Finance and the Controller.
The review by the Mercury News found at least 17 accounts appear to have significantly more reserve cash than what individual departments reported to the Finance, though it’s unclear why.
For example, the fund that gives restitution to violent crime victims was off by $29 million, a low-cost health insurance fund for children was $30 million out of balance and the fund that rewards people for recycling bottles and cans was underreported by $113 million.
Finance officials are continuing to examine each special fund, line-by-line, to determine how much of the money is truly hidden.
“That ($2.3 billion) number will be inaccurate by the time we are done,” Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.