California stealing special funds to pay for schools, prisons, social services
California has 560 funds deemed "special" because in theory they're walled off from general state expenditures. In the face of two recessions, however, California reached deeper into those funds for purposes that fee payers never intended. The state now owes $4.3 billion to special funds, more than five times the amount owed in 2008.
State leaders argue that special funds have enough extra money to pay for more critical state needs. Some special fund reserves grew after the state imposed furloughs on all state workers starting in 2009.
But program advocates say the borrowed money should have gone toward intended uses like reducing pollution or better enforcement of health care fields. Or, they suggest, it should have gone back to consumers and professionals through lower fees....