Um, It Seems We Have Misplaced $2 Billion

I do a lot of work with California State Parks, being a concessionaire in some of their parks, so I have been following the various scandals in that agency closely.  One part of the scandal was that CSP apparently hid something like $54 million in reserve funds from the legislature.  I wondered how it was possible for the state to not know there was $54 million lying around un-reported.

It seems like we have a partial solution to my quandary.  It is possible to misplace $54 million when you also misplace another $2 billion.

More than $2 billion in California taxpayer money has apparently been stashed in hundreds of special funds unaccounted for by the state Department of Finance, a newspaper reported on Friday.

An examination of more than 500 special fund accounts, like the $54 million discrepancy in state parks money, showed a $2.3 billion "discrepancy" between state controller and Department of Finance numbers, according to the San Jose Mercury News (

No one checks the controller's figures, so the difference wasn't caught.

The analysis showed at least 17 accounts appear to have significantly more reserve cash than what was reported to the Finance Department.

The violent crime victim restitution fund, for instance, was off by $29 million, and a low-cost child health insurance fund was off by $30 million. The fund that rewards people who recycle bottles and cans was $113 million off.

State finance officials operate under a  longtime honor system. The controller's figures were never checked and oversight groups didn't catch the discrepancies even though the numbers are publicly available on two state websites.

LOL, politicians' "honor".  We can see what that is worth.


  1. Maximum Liberty:

    I interpret this to be one set of more powerful politicians and bureaucrats tyring to seize many other, less powerful politicians' and bureaucrats' slush funds. Along the lines of "We're pissed that you hid this money so that you could spend it on your cronies instead of letting us spend it on our cronies."

    Taxpayers don't really have a stake in this. It's like watching a playoff game between teams you don't like in a sport you find distateful.


  2. John VI:

    It’s like watching a playoff game between teams you don’t like in a sport you find distateful

    Max, I love that analogy.

    Thanks for the smile. :)

  3. IGotBupkis, Legally Defined Cyberbully in All 57 States:

    A billion here, a billion there....
    Y'know, sooner or later, it adds up to Real Money.

  4. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and CRIS Diagnostic Expert:

    >>> It’s like watching a playoff game between teams you don’t like in a sport you find distateful

    So, it's a lot like the Presidential Elections, then?


  5. Rocky:

    When it's other peoples money why should they care? If this were any of these bureaucrats personal bucks, believe you me these SOB's would be running around like their hair was on fire trying to figure out where it went. Since it's not, who gives a flying f---, it's just their lucky day. "Look Jerry, 2 billion , where the hell do you think that was hiding?" "Now we can build a few more miles on the train to know where".... INCOMPETENT DUMB ASSES......

  6. marco73:

    "Honor" among thieves doesn't exist when it comes to politicians.

  7. NL_:

    What's weird is it sounds like the controller had the correct high estimates and dept of finance had the wrong low numbers. This is weird because the controller is a statewide elected official and the department is supposed to be the professional service.

    Unlike the typical state role of some sort of nonpartisan professional accountant to look at everything, the controller is a partisan politician (Sacramento has the Legislative Analyst that's supposed to fulfill that nonpartisan role on budgets). Yet for some reason the politician caught what the experts missed.

  8. Rob:

    If Corzine can lose over a billion and (apparently get away with it)whats a few million here or there to a state agency?

  9. John VI:

    In all likelyhood NL_ Id wager that the political office has no power to change the situation so the local budgeting offices had no incentive to hide the money from them, whereas the actual accounting experts could take the money or re-assess thier budgets based on their findings.

  10. Rob:

    Heh.. The local paper (SJ Mercury/News) had an article stating that some of the folks who ponied up with private funds to keep state parks open want their money back. (Good luck with that!)

    I'd love to see an accounting of this sort of thing at the Federal Level. Sure, there are intelligence and military funds that are "black", but they end up buried in the larger budgets of organization.

    I wonder how much money has wandered "off book" and who it wandered to...

  11. ErisGuy:

    Taxpayer money has been stashed in unaccountable special funds and it hasn't been embezzled? Who is running California?