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California government needs new computer system, report says

April 30, 2012 | 12:00 pm

Correction made 12:50 p.m.

Lawmakers should push forward with the long-troubled overhaul of the state's computer system, the Legislative Analyst's Office recommended in a report Monday.

As conceived, the new computer network -- known as the Financial Information System for California, or FI$Cal -- would allow the state to manage its money more efficiently.

Still, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which provides policy and budget advice to lawmakers, said the project shouldn't be abandoned.

"We believe the benefits of proceeding with FI$Cal development at this time outweigh the costs of the project," the report said, calling it "one of the most ambitious and complex IT systems in the history of the state."

Originally pegged at $1.3 billion, costs rose to $1.6 billion. But recalibrating the project has reduced the price tag to under $620 million, thanks in part to staff reductions. The upgrade is badly needed, and state agencies will end up spending more patching the current system, the report said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story included an inaccurate total cost for the project.


Defections from $1.6-billion computer system project pose more headaches for Brown

After spending billions, state remains hampered by outmoded, unreliable computer systems

California lawmakers call for halt to court computer project, also plagued by cost overruns

-- Chris Megerian in Sacramento