Brown Gives Green light To Fraud

Steven Greenhut: I love it when government officials try to save money. They always start by cutting the most useful programs or the ones that cause the most pain to the public. California has an enormous budget, one filled with enrichment schemes for well-connected politicos (various commissions that pay 100K-plus for attending a handful of meetings) and for public employees. State salaries are enormous, as are the public employee pensions, retiree health care, etc. So what does Gov.-elect Jerry Brown choose to cut? A tiny agency ($2.8 million budget) that audits the waste and misuse of taxpayer funds.

Clearly, Brown is trying to protect his public employee allies, who don’t like all those prying eyes on the way they spend federal stimulus dollars. Brown’s talk of austerity revolves mainly around tiny cuts to office staff, etc., as a way to burnish his image as a cheapskate. Meanwhile, he appears unlikely to tackle the big stuff. And he clearly doesn’t want sophisticated auditors around peeking into the crevices of government. Check out Anthony Pignataro’s open letter to Brown for a look at how few people are really poking around this massive state government.

Although I am not an advocate for more government, it’s necessary to have departments that audit how the government spends its money. If we’re stuck with this absurdly large enterprise, then we have to have at least small agencies that look at waste, fraud and abuse, even if there is some technical redundancies. Obviously, Brown doesn’t think so. This is a bad sign that could easily be taken as a green light for secrecy and fraud.

DEC. 23

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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 23 December, 2010, 14:25

    Nothing ever changes.

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  2. Jeff Gallagher
    Jeff Gallagher 23 December, 2010, 15:50

    I’m amazed Greenhut isn’t demanding Brown to go out to bid on an audit contract. Isn’t that what fiscal conservatives do- demand all public employees be cut from the payroll and bid everything out to the lowest bidder? Maybe Brown’s receptionist can double as auditor. I mean, what’s it take to operate a calculator? Why don’t you at least let the guy get sworn in before blindly slamming him.

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  3. Keith Rouleau
    Keith Rouleau 14 March, 2011, 00:09

    Speaking of fraud, could someone help me report a case of work comp/pension fraud? I work with a former Sacramento County firefighter that is collecting disability for life after “hurting” his back on the job. He brags about this quite often. Meanwhile, he competes in triathlons and probably has a stronger back than half the planet.
    Who do I contact? My tax dollars are being abused.

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