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California is not exactly a hot spot for jobs, but as Dan Walter explains in the Sacramento Bee, it’s not for lack of government spending. California has, count ‘em, at least 30 “workforce development” programs in, count ‘em, nine state agencies. And these programs spend “an estimated $5.6 billion each year, $3.1 billion from the state general fund and another $2.5 billion from other sources, mostly special taxes and the federal government.” Something called the Employment Training Panel spends some $70 million a year and in 2014 was turning people away for lack of funds. Then, as Walters notes, “it was discovered that the ETP had a $24.2 million balance in its account, financed from payroll taxes on employers.”
Walters cites no hard data on how many jobs, exactly, these 30 agencies have provided. But he does note that “over time, the programs proliferate with almost no coordination or evaluation. They become political entitlements whose beneficiaries – the organizations that live off the flow of money from Sacramento – lobby the powers that be to keep the cash moving.”
Cash is also moving in the University of California, as the Bee’s Alexei Koseff shows. The top 15 UC administrators will bag raises of 3 percent. That brings Sam Hawgood of UC San Francisco to $772,500, Nicholas Dirks of UC Berkeley to $516,446 and Linda Katehi of UC Davis, which has pepper sprayed students protesting tuition hikes, to $424,360, more than the President of the United States. The other UC chancellors got their big raises last year, but there’s more to it than overpaid bureaucrats.
As Mr. Koseff also notes, an upgrade to the University of California payroll system “will ultimately cost more than twice as much as originally expected,” a full $375 million, instead of the original estimate of $156 million. In the past two decades, “the state spent nearly $1 billion on seven computer projects that were either terminated or suspended.” Earlier this year UC President Janet Napolitano, a former Arizona governor and Department of Homeland Security boss, told reporters that UCPath “will work and it will provide savings and consistency in payroll moving forward.” On the other hand, IT analyst Michael Krigsman said it was “out of control, poorly planned and lacks basic governance,” adding, “the only people who could afford to do this are people who have a blank check.”