PUBLIC INFORMATION -- A measure that would bring greatly needed insight into how much money California spends outsourcing work to private contractors moved one step closer to becoming a law yesterday when AB 756 by Assemblymember Mike Eng passed out of the Assembly on a concurrence vote of 48-27 and headed to the Governor’s desk.


"With the California state budget experiencing ongoing deficits, AB 756 would increase government transparency and improve California’s cost effectiveness by requiring state agencies to disclose to the public all private contracts for personal services, such as computer programming services," said Eng in a press statement.
 
“Currently the State does not have a clear understanding of just how much money our departments are spending on these contracts. We owe the taxpayers complete and total disclosure.”
 
At a March 2008 joint-Assembly committee hearing co-chaired by Eng, the Department of General Services (DGS) admitted that there is no centralized data collection, monitoring or documentation of the use or effectiveness of private contractors using state dollars. In addition, DGS was unable to explain why the number of private information technology contracts had tripled from 1,800 in 2003-04 to more than 6,000 in 2007-08.
 

"It has been estimated that California could save $347 million annually by utilizing state workers to cut unnecessary and wasteful outsourcing in three areas: $100 million or more annually in information technology contracts, $144-205 million or more in medical registry contracts, and $50 million in architecture and engineering contracts," Eng said.

"In a typical year, California spends nearly $35 billion on services and consultant contracts, which works out to $28.7 million daily."

“The federal government has had a transparency and accountability website up and running for over five years. In addition 12 states have a website to allow its citizens to track state expenditures, so why doesn’t California?” asked Assemblymember Eng. “The truth is California is behind the curve and I strongly urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign AB 756 into law."
 
Upon arrival to his desk, Governor Schwarzenegger has 30 days to either sign or veto AB 756.