Governor Schwarzenegger Stands Firm AGAINST WASTE, FRAUD & ABUSE
“We should not and I will not, cut a dollar from education or a dollar from health care or a dollar from public safety or a dollar from our state parks without first cutting the Waste Management Board and other boards like it.” [Governor Schwarzenegger Addressing a Joint-Session of the Legislature, 6/2/09, Transcript]
READ the Governor’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times about rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in order to help balance our state budget.
Getting Rid of Redundant Boards and Commissions
Governor Schwarzenegger has said he will not sign a budget that doesn’t force Sacramento to tighten its belt just like families and businesses throughout California are doing.
He has proposed doing away with redundant and wasteful state boards and commissions – boards and commissions that are in many cases highly paid to meet as little as once a month to do work that could easily be absorbed into other areas of state government.
Consolidate the Board of Geologists and Geophysicists with the State Mining and Geology Board.
Eliminate the Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine.
Consolidate the Department of Corporations, Department of Financial Institutions, Department of Real Estate and Department of Real Estate Appraisers.
Eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways and transfer its functions to the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Eliminate the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission as a state department and realign its functions to a regional entity.
Consolidate the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the Board of Psychology, the duties of the Board of Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians to oversee psychiatric technicians, into a new Board of Mental Health.
[Full list in the Governor’s May Revise Budget Proposal, on Pages 4-5, Link Here: http://www.dof.ca.gov/budget/historical/2009-10/may_revision/documents/May_Revision_2009-10_General_Fund_Proposals.pdf]
Finding Fraud in the State’s In-Home Support Services Program
Grand juries in San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Contra Costa counties all found that the state’s In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program has little oversight and is a target for fraud. In fact, district attorneys in some of those counties have estimated that fraud could amount to as much as 25 percent of the program’s rapidly growing costs:
SACRAMENTO COUNTY DISRICT ATTORNEY JAN SCULLY: “We have a huge caseload in Sacramento County. We had in my office about 1.6 percent of all those cases referred to us for fraud. And what we’ve told them is – and I know you’ve used the figure and a lot of us agree with that, 25 percent fraud – but we just say, give us any number. Let’s acknowledge that we have a problem, we need a check and balance system and then we can all do our job better.” [Transcript]
VENTURA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY GREGORY TOTTEN: “In Ventura County we also had a very critical grand jury report that really focused on individuals that are on the registry, as well as the issue of people who are not on the registry, the family members that are providing these services and the inadequate backgrounds that are done on them. … I think in the area of welfare fraud we have known for many, many years that early detection, early intervention, early assessment from the standpoint of fraud, pays huge dividends. The current estimates range anywhere from on the low side, maybe 5 to 10 percent to 25 percent in terms of the fraud that occurs in this program.” [Transcript]
Reforming IHSS will save $1.5 billion per year.
Governor Schwarzenegger is standing firm that the fraud and abuse must be rooted out from IHSS and programs like it – taxpayer dollars must be used properly, especially now.
Rooting Out CalWORKs Abuse
Only 22 percent of Californians involved in receiving cash aid from the state are meeting the federal government’s work requirements for welfare. The federal government requires that 50 percent are meeting requirements. California could be fined $330 million for each year that we fall below that target.
Governor Schwarzenegger wants to reform CalWORKs so that it’s benefitting Californians who are actually working – not encouraging Californians not to work, like it is doing now.
The Governor’s proposal will increase accountability measures, focus on a “work-first” emphasis, and set funding priorities.
This proposal will save $753 million in General Fund dollars in the 2009-10 year.
The Governor’s long-term CalWORKs reform will achieve savings of $1.5 billion per year.
Unsustainable Promises to Public Employees
Retirement promises made to state employees amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars of unfunded debt threaten to consume growing portions of the State General Fund and squeeze out funding for higher education, welfare, environmental protection and more programs.
These are promises the state doesn’t have the money to pay for.
The Governor has proposed reforms to the state’s employee pension payouts and retiree health care benefits that will save nearly $6 billion per year in reduced payouts and avoided debt over the next 30 years.
This reform is critical to ensuring our state budget is on solid ground in future years.