Is FI$Cal doomed?

And now it’s time to talk about the Financial Information System for California, which is known colloquially by the obscenely cutesy acronym FI$Cal. It doesn’t get a lot of press, but this project—conceived back in 2007 as an “historic partnership” between the state Departments of Finance and General Services as well as the State Controller and Treasurer that would “ensure best business practices by embracing opportunities to reengineer the state’s business practices”—exemplifies everything that’s wrong with the State of California’s financial well-being. Evidence of that comes from this Jan. 7, 2010 letter from State Auditor Elaine M. Howe to state government leaders:

“Second, we reported our concern that the project currently lacks long-term funding. The FI$Cal project stated that, because of the State’s economic situation and a law that prohibits the use of bonds to finance a budget deficit, it is unable to rely on the sale of bonds to fund the project as it initially planned… Given the level of uncertainty surrounding its future funding, we communicated our concern that the FI$Cal project may have difficulty attracting and retaining qualified staff.”

You mean access to civil service protections and possibly even public employee union protection still might not be enough to get people to work for FI$Cal? Now that’s bad…
-Anthony Pignataro


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