California splurged by spending $540,000 on new Ford Fusion Hybrids for members of the state Senate angering tax payer advocates.
Lew Uhler, president of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee said that he is infuriated with the way the state lawmakers operate. “The excesses and absurdities never seem to end with government,” he lamented.
State officials contend that it’s all normal operating procedures and they are simply exchanging older cars in the state Senate motor pool with more eco-friendly vehicles, reported the Los Angeles Times.
“What we did was just say, ‘Hey, DGS (Department of General Services) do you have Fusions?’ We weren’t saying buy new ones or anything like that. That wasn’t our intent. So it was really like if we have cars, make sure they are all Fusions,” said the Senate’s top administrator, Secretary Danny Alvarez.
DGS spokesman Brian Ferguson said that, “The majority of the vehicles that were rotated out were older-model full-size sedans that were replaced by newer hybrid vehicles as part of the continuing effort to green the state’s vehicle fleet.”
California has 4,435 vehicles in its rental fleet used by state agencies and other offices. It added 278 hybrid vehicles to the fleet in 2014, according to the Times. In 2012 Gov. Jerry Brown mandated that by 2015 at least 10% of non-emergency vehicles be electric.
Last year, the Senate bought a pre-owned 2014 Chevy Suburban for $40,117 to drive around Senate Pro tem Kevin De León and other worthy lawmakers.
Not to be outdone, House Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) gets to drive two cars that cost over $42,000 courtesy of taxpayers. She drives a new $42,694 Buick LaCrosse to get around Sacramento and a 2012 Chevy Suburban to bustle about her district.
Jon Coupal, taxpayers president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. points out that Atkins is asking California motorists to cough up more tax money to repair roads and freeways while she is driving in style. “This is the kind of thing that drives citizen taxpayers crazy,” he said.