California's untapped state funds: A Times Google+ Hangout
The Times will host a Google+ Hangout at 1 p.m. with reporter Chris Megerian and city editor Shelby Grad on untapped state special funds -- for example, $113 million in a recycling program, which could have helped stave off cuts in welfare, healthcare or parks. Lawmakers were told the program was broke and dipped into other funds to keep it afloat.
A Times Analysis showed California might have had hundreds of millions of dollars more on hand than the governor and lawmakers knew about as they struggled to close the budget deficit this year.
In some instances, state officials said, there was an appearance of extra cash due to differences in bookkeeping methods between the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown, which plans the budget, and the controller's office, which manages California's cash, essentially functioning as its banker.
An audit was triggered by the recent discovery that the parks department had $54 million in unreported funds even as it threatened to close 70 facilities and was soliciting private donations to keep many of them open. Brown has called for an investigation.
Officials are scrambling to explain discrepancies in about two dozen state funds identified in a comparison of balance sheets from the controller's office and the Brown administration.