According to a new report from the Los Angeles Times, the California Department of Parks and Recreation stashed some $54 million in the bank even as it cut services and tried to shut down parks. Now, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) is doing his best to tap into that cash, reportedly asking the state attorney general to start “an investigation into the hidden surplus, which officials believe the department concealed from state bookkeepers, the governor and the Legislature for at least a dozen years.” Essentially, Gov. Brown is calling dibs on the dough.
That money may have been either hidden or misplaced, according to the Times. One of the funds in which the money had been stashed was designed to maintain off-road vehicle recreation areas, and the other was to be used for general maintenance. The Parks Department has been cleaned out in terms of personnel. Now, the governor is launching a “review of all dedicated funds across state government.”
This month, the state was slated to shut down some 70 parks.
The question here isn’t why fraud or mismanagement of government money took place. It’s why the people of California would continue to raise their own taxes to pay for that fraud or mismanagement. How does a government simply lose track of $54 million? Apparently, it’s an everyday occurrence – says State Sen. Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), “If one department can hoard $54 million for 12 years, who else is playing the same tricks of deceit and thievery?” The government is. It’s that simple.