California Finds Pot of Gold Hidden in State Accounts

Facing crippling deficits that have threatened California's vaunted quality of life, the discovery of more than $286 million in state accounts will come as a welcome relief. A sweeping state audit, however, raises more questions than it answers.
August 6, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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It turns out the shocking discovery of $54 million hidden untapped in two of the California Department of Parks and Recreation's funds, as mass park closures loomed, was just the tip of the iceberg. Chris Megerian and Paige St. John report in the Los Angeles Times that an audit launched in the wake of the parks scandal has found more than $286.5 million that "lawmakers were unaware of as they repeatedly cut government services."

"The new discovery includes about $30 million for healthcare programs, almost $29 million for reimbursing crime victims and $12.5 million for cleaning up underground petroleum tanks. It follows revelations that nearly $113 million was languishing in a recycling program funded with consumers' bottle deposits and $54 million had gone unreported by state parks officials."

According to Megerian and St. John, "The irregularities are a particular distraction for [Gov.] Brown as he pushes voters to pass billions of dollars in tax increases on the November ballot. Recent opinion polls have suggested many voters want some sign that California's fiscal house is being put in order before they will give more money to Sacramento." 

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Published on Saturday, August 4, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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