California lawmakers want better accounting for special funds
California lawmakers gave their final stamp of approval to legislation beefing up accounting practices in hopes of avoiding the kind of scandal that engulfed the parks department this year.
The Assembly passed the bill 49 to 23 on Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. The Senate approved it 27 to 11 on Tuesday.
The turmoil over state accounting began in July when officials revealed the parks department had a previously unreported $54-million surplus even though the state was threatening to close parks. Further examination revealed loose accounting throughout the state's 500-plus "special" funds.
The new legislation, AB 1487, would require officials to compare the two ledgers used to guide state spending, one prepared by the governor's office, the other from the state controller. The controller would also be responsible for a new report to help ensure all funds are properly accounted for.
“This bill is part of a broader strategy to ensure strict special fund management," said Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), the bill's sponsor.
Assemblyman Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) was unconvinced and opposed the bill.
“This is pyrrhic reform at best, and patronizing at its worst," he said.
-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento
Photo: Assembly Budget Chairman Bob Blumenfield, left, listens to Senate Budget Chairman Mark Leno question an administration official during a Capitol hearing last year. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press