Mushroom Alert from Assemblyman Jeffries – State Continues to Hire New Employees!
I only issue a Mushroom Alert on very rare occasions and generally only when I suspect the public is being kept or left in the dark.
As most of you know, all across our state, in numerous communities and cities, the headlines of the local newspapers announce that teachers are getting pink slips, fire stations may close and Police services are being cut (to name a few).
You’ve also undoubtedly heard about the near $20 billion dollar state budget deficit and how the state is taking funds from local government (and considering up to $40 billion in new taxes, as reported in my last newsletter) to help cover the red ink. What you probably haven’t seen in your local newspaper is how in the midst of this mess, your state government is actually proceeding with hiring MORE state employees. I’m not talking about 10 or 20 new positions, I’m talking about requesting more than seven hundred (700 ) – just in the past two weeks alone!
On April 27th and May 4th the following state agencies received preliminary approval from the Assembly Budget Subcommittee #4 for budget support to hire and fill as follows:
Board of Equalization: 447 positions added to the current employee roster of roughly 3700 employees.
Franchise Tax Board: 137 positions added to the current employee roster of roughly 5000 employees (with another 269 positions pending a future hearing).
Department of Consumer Affairs: 73 positions added (with another 67 positions pending a future hearing).
Department of Insurance: 6 positions added.
Department of Veteran Affairs: 59 positions added (with another 257 positions pending a future hearing).
During one meeting we were briefed on how 83 employees are working full time to develop standards and specifications to replace an outdated state computer system. The task force reported it is now prepared to release a “Request For Proposal”. Cost to date $40 million. Estimated final cost at the end of 12 years: $1.6 Billion.
Now to be fair – none of these are done deals just yet. They still have to go through the final budget approval process, but I believe it does serve as a good indicator as to the lack of fiscal discipline in the State Capitol and challenges many of us face in trying to control our state bureaucracy. You can watch most state legislative hearings at: CalChannel.com.