How many other government agencies have “hidden” surpluses?

Poway Roger Poway Roger 1 Comment

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http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/07/parks-director-says-in-resignation-letter-she-is-appalled-by-hoarding-of-money.html

Sacramento doesn’t have the leadership to solve the deficit without a tax increase. Gov. Jerry Brown wants to raise taxes without showing any way to make sure past mistakes aren’t repeated. I love the comment that California State Senator Noreen Evans (D) made in reference to the State Parks hidden surplus: “If one department can hoard $54 million for 12 years, who else is playing the same tricks of deceit and thievery?” I think a lot of us would agree with her.

Being a lover of our Parks and having seen firsthand how in the mid-1980s Congress raided the National Park Service (after telling the NPS that they could keep their entrance fees for maintenance and other needed services), I don’t have a problem with a Park Department having a surplus if that surplus is going to be used for deferred maintenance, a problem suffered by all parks. However, this surplus was apparently “hidden” and that is the issue I have.

Doesn’t it make you wonder how many other governmental agencies have hidden pockets of money? I recall a conversation I had several years ago with several members of a local school district about why they charged for bus transportation and another nearby district did not. These school board members looked at me and said very seriously that their school district didn’t juggle their money like the other district and that someday that other school district would be caught.

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  1. If there are other agencies that have hidden money illegally let’s hope some whistleblowers will come forward.

    It might have been understandable if they’d squirreled away money for emergency expenses, anticipating budget cuts. But this State Parks head was willing to see 70 state parks close without disclosing this money that could save many if not most of them. I personally donated money and asked others to do the same to raise money to save Palomar Mt. State Park. I think this fund should be used first to save the 4 parks that actually still faced closure, where no donors came forward, and second to pay back donors who contributed to save other parks, if they want refunds. Some may opt to leave their donations intact for future expenses. I am livid that this makes nonprofits trying to do the right thing look bad too. As a journalist I’d welcome interviews with any whistleblowers who can provide proof of secret money stashes in any other agencies. Audits should also be done to assure taxpayers if this was a one-time aberration, or if there are other funds out there that can be used to cover state expenses.

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