Donnelly: Hold Government Accountable, Report Fraud

Press Release posted 8/10/12 – In his August 4th newsletter, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly had this to say about the recent news that the State Parks Dept. had under reported $54 million in funds:

After learning that the State Parks Department had underreported what turned out to be $54 million of special fund money, I was horrified at the fraud perpetuated against the public. Although they had been underreporting for approximately a decade, the department had the audacity to beg the Legislature to give them more money at a time when the government was in the red and serious programs were being cut. When the Legislature denied the Department’s pleas, they went straight to the people many of whom are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, a roof over their head and food on the table.

Not surprisingly, people lined up to help keep the parks open and protect our State’s most beautiful landscapes. They were defrauded by the very people they pay to protect our natural resources. Now hundreds of millions of dollars in accounting discrepancies have been discovered among 500 state agencies. This confirms what many of us already knew; many state departments spend more money than they need every year in order to make sure they receive the same or more funds next year. This abuse of taxpayer dollars through “baseline budgeting” needs to stop immediately.

The discrepancies are said to total over $2.3 billion, but a Department of Finance spokesperson told the Sacramento Bee that the numbers the legislature was working with to formulate the budget are “essentially accurate.” Not only has the Department of Finance shirked its duty, creating this fraudulent use of our hard-earned money, but also “essentially accurate” is not good enough when the State is spending OUR money.

The Legislature is scheduled to conduct follow-up hearings over the next few weeks. This should result in an overhaul of how our budget is supervised. I will keep you apprised of what we find and how we are going to correct this massive abuse of taxpayers and waste of our resources.