Earlier in the week, the Capitol community was abuzz when The Bee uncovered an unauthorized vacation buyout program taking place in the Department of Parks and Recreation. A buyout that cost the state over $271,000- which is especially shocking when you consider the scale of cutbacks underway due to our budget deficit. Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to the keen investigative sense of Bee reporters, an even bigger scandal has been discovered. A scandal worth about $54 million- all in surplus money that the Department of Parks and Recreation has been sitting on for the past 12 years. Doing so, while the department carried out cutbacks in hours, staffing, and mass closures of state parks due to the budget shortage. Non-profits and local governments alike scrambled to find the funding to take over park operations from the state department.
An investigation is now underway by both the Attorney General and the Department of Finance to figure out how such a serious (and shameful) act of deceit was allowed to occur. State Parks Director Ruth Coleman has resigned since the discovery, and her second in command fired.
Foes of Governor Jerry Brown's tax hike initiative (Prop 30) may have reason to rejoice. They've had a pretty good week chock full of headlines that make voters wonder about the Governor and Legislature's ability to effectively govern and spend- bringing doubt as to whether taxpayers ought to contribute even more. From eyebrow raising raises for Legislative staffers to the scandal brewing at State Parks- the week has been cringe worthy for Brown and his supporters.
Do we really know how our tax dollars are being spent? Better yet, do we want to give them more?
Here's more from the Los Angeles Times: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/07/california-republican-taxes.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter