Beall Bashes Bogus Budget
Assemblymember Jim Beall, Jr., chairman of the Assembly Human Services Committee, assailed the Governor's revised budget proposals for targeting crucial programs that help the poor and people with disabilities while ignoring government waste such as spending $2 billion annually on private consultants.
"The Governor needs to take a closer look at how we are spending the money we have before he even begins thinking about taking money away from our neediest citizens – the blind, infirm, children, and the poor," Beall said.
These deeper cuts being proposed for Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services not only jeopardize their wellbeing, it will generate more costs in expensive emergency medical care. The elderly and people with disabilities rely on IHSS to remain independent and live in their own homes.
California spends $2 billion a year for outside consultants, some whom duplicate work that can be accomplished by state workers. The Governor's administration has not examined nor initiated any review of how much money can be saved by reducing unneeded outside consulting services.
For example, Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Public Health have left some authorized information technology positions vacant but have chosen to hire contractors to do the same work at higher costs even when taking into account the positions' salaries and benefits. If those positions were filled it would save the state an estimated $2.2 million in consultant costs.
The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's reliance on private drug treatment programs and medical registries for temporary, credential medical personnel instead of filling open positions has cost the state millions. Private psychologists treating inmates are being paid as much as $350 an hour compared to about $75 per hour for a staff psychologist. A 2007 report by the Office of the California Inspector General on prison substance abuse programs said ‘'poor fiscal and mismanagement … have encouraged inappropriate spending and enabled contractors to abuse the department's budget policies."
The prison system has paid medical registries up to $250 an hour for a physician -- $520,000 per doctor annually – compared to the civil service rate of $155,000 a year, according to the Union of American Physicians and Dentists.
"Reducing funding for Medi-Cal and IHSS to keep private consultants fat and happy on the state dollar is the wrong way to balance the budget," Beall said.