Calling the records "essentially accurate," Gov. Jerry Brown's top budget adviser nonetheless said Friday that a quick audit of the state's 560 special budget funds found a number of either accounting conflicts or outright clerical mistakes.
"They're just mistakes that are getting made that are small, but that add up," said budget director Ana Matasantos in a news conference with Capitol reporters.
(The audit information is here.)
In all, auditors found 291 of the state's 560 special funds had discrepancies in their cash balances. None of those differences, said Matasantos, were like the recent revelation of $54 million in hidden funds inside state parks accounts.
Still, the audit did reveal some head-scratching mistakes:
The state's Victims Restitution Fund -- to help those affected by violent crimes -- has almost $29 million more than budget writers thought due to a data entry error (someone typing a "minus" rather than a "plus").
A fund for plastic bottle recycling fees was off by $3.5 million due to a double-counting error.
Far larger discrepancies are being attributed to the myriad of accounting practices used by various parts of state government. Even so, officials say things will change.
"The governor has directed us to do more," said Matasantos in announcing new procedures to reconcile accounting numbers with those provided by the state controller's office. It was the controller's accounting, interestingly enough, that accurately reflected the extra parks cash -- even though that data did not trigger questions inside the state Capitol.