By Jon Coupal | Anyone who’s ever managed a household knows that it’s not only how much money you make that matters. It’s also how much you spend.
California’s budget is vastly more complicated, and less transparent, than family finances. So it’s even more important for taxpayers to watch closely as elected officials spend our money.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation released its annual “Follow the Money” report on July 15, coinciding with this year’s postponed Tax Day. It’s a catalog of careless, excessive and wasteful spending, or, as some might have it, business as usual.
For example, the Department of Motor Vehicles had years to prepare for the launch of the national “Real ID,” but failed to do so. The agency was rewarded with an additional $242 million in new spending to try again.
State Auditor Elaine Howle found misuse of state resources in county fair funds, documenting $318,000 in misspent funds, including more than $30,000 for “excessive and unauthorized travel expenses,” lavish dinners and alcohol.
In another audit, Howle discovered that the California State University system hid $1.5 billion in an outside account to spend on operating costs, while raising tuition almost yearly and asking the Legislature for more funding. CSU has nearly doubled tuition from 2008 to 2018.
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