Jerry Brown declares war on trinkets

His budget proposal still under fire from both sides in the Legislature, Gov. Jerry Brown today declared war on trinkets.

Brown directed all state agencies and departments to stop spending taxpayer dollars on free giveaway and gift items – key chains, coffee mugs, pens and so on – in order to cut costs. A statewide review revealed that from 2007 to 2010 state agencies and departments spent a total of $7.5 million on such items:

    Business, Transportation & Housing Agency — $5,088,037
    State and Consumer Services Agency — $1,154,960
    Health and Human Services Agency — $778,678
    Department of Food & Agriculture — $175,530
    Labor and Workforce Development Agency — $129,012
    California Volunteers — $77,387
    Environmental Protection Agency — $48,317
    Emergency Management Agency — $41,810
    Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation — $12,201
    Department of Veterans Affairs — $4,968

“Not a cent of taxpayer money should be spent on flashlights, ashtrays or other unnecessary items, most of which likely end up in landfills,” Brown said in his news release. “Every taxpayer dollar we save by cutting waste is a dollar that can be used to pay for critical public safety and social services.”

Dang – and I was hoping for a Sutter Brown plush toy.

Brown also has asked the Bureau of State Audits and the Little Hoover Commission to provide “Top 10” lists of ways to cut government waste and increase efficiency, and issued executive orders to freeze hiring across state government, cut state cell phones and halve the state’s passenger vehicle fleet.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Common Tater

    Moonbeam is going to do away with trinkets but keep the public service employee unions! I’d rather have the trinkets.

  • Wendy Lack

    @ Common Tater:

    Gotta appreciate Jerry’s knack for using symbols, though.
    – Flying commercial
    – Cutting state autos and cell phones and trinkets

    Jerry’s contrived moves capture headlines while the 800-lb. labor gorilla continues freely living the high life at state expense.

    However, the doings in Wisconsin, et. al., are resonating nationwide, even in CA. The media may be distracted by Jerry’s gimmicks, but increasing numbers of apolitical people are becoming aware of the public pension issue.

    Will be fascinating to watch all of this play out in CA, as the general public begins to understand the disproportionate power of public sector labor groups on state politics.

  • Joe M.

    I agree with Wendy Lack above. Gov. Brown’s cutting state autos and cell phones are a good (through mostly symbolic) first step, but the public pension schemes are really what are bankrupting the State of California. The institution of the “3% at 50” pension scheme, enacted in 1999 and signed by Gov. Gray Davis, will decimate the state budget for decades to come. It needs to be reformed immediately. Sen. Hancock’s S.B. 490 is a good, small first step, but much, much more needs to be done than S.B. 490. Voters should refuse to approve the tax increases at the upcoming special election(s) until the state legislature resolves the public pension problem, especially the “3% at 50” pension scheme. Common citizens shouldn’t have to pay higher taxes so that public employees can retire at age 50 and earn $100,000 a year for the rest of their lives. So if “3% at 50” is not reformed, vote “NO!” on the tax increases.