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No More Loose Change Between State's Sofa Cushions

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Major bummer. It turns out that there isn't a bunch of extra money sitting in accounts around state government.

Those, at least, are the findings of an audit of state special funds. The audit came after the discovery of more than $50 million in two accounts of the state parks department, and after reports of extra money in the state's many special funds accounts.

Those reported discrepancies were primarily the resulting of accounting differences and timing issues.

This is being considered good news by those in Sacramento, who described the discovery of unknown savings in parks -- and similar discrepancies in other programs -- as a scandal.

But it's bad news for the state, given that cash-strapped California government could stand to find more money lying around.

One obsession should be put to rest: that this will impact the results of the vote on Gov. Jerry Brown's temporary tax initiative in November.

It shouldn't, given that these accounting issues have little to do with the state's budget problems. And it won't, since the real political problems Brown's initiative faces have nothing to do with parks accounts, and everything to do with the fact that the measure raises taxes, without fixing the broken budget system.

Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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