State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today announced that he has introduced SB 898, new legislation to increase state agency transparency by requiring each state agency, department and entity to provide the Treasurer with its employer identification number. Principal co-author Assembly Member Adam Gray (D-Merced) is chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) and commissioned the report, “Accounts Outside the State’s Centralized Treasury System,” which recommended the legislative change.
“It is important that Californians are able to accurately track how their money is spent. To find that any state agency has been using bank accounts outside of the treasury to hide funds, the state government loses credibility,” said Sen. Cannella. “In order to better serve our taxpayers, SB 898 will provide necessary transparency across all state agencies to ensure that funds are not mismanaged. This new legislation will provide the fiscal accountability Californians deserve while restoring their confidence in our state government by knowing safeguards are in place to prevent the abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
SB 898 authorizes the Treasurer to use state agency, department and entity employer identification numbers to monitor state bank accounts and state money that are outside the State Treasury System. In 2012, the California Parks and Recreation Department used specific bank accounts to hide $20 million in funds and issued improper payouts to employees resulting in major state budget deficits that threatened the closing of state parks.
“As chair of JLAC, I have the privilege and responsibility of making sure the state operates within full view of public scrutiny,” said Gray. “If there is money available for a specific state agency, that money should not only be transparent to the public, but allocated appropriately, and I applaud the efforts to increase checks and balances throughout our state agencies and departments.”
Sen. Cannella is a member of JLAC and has made government transparency a priority.