• Brown Introduces New 2015-2016 Budget: $250+ Billion. Where’s the $3-$5 billion in IT Spending?

    January 9th, 2015 by admin Categories: Blogs Tags: , , , , , , ,

    Today, once again, the State of California is going through its traditional January ritual where the Governor unveils its huge annual budget, over $250 billion when you count all the state’s funding sources. Don’t be fooled by the Department of Finance’s budgetary legerdemain whereby only the “general fund” spending of $113 billion is highlighted. In reality the state will spend two and a half times that figure, but it takes real effort to comb through the thousand page budget, even with a search engine, to actually figure that out. Why this is done is a story for another day. Today we want to discuss state IT spending in the new budget.

    In a few words, where is it? Where is the new IT spending identified? Why is it that you can search as long as you like but you are unlikely to identify more than a few million in IT spending. Where’s the transparency?

    Just to compare, the federal government’s FY2015 budget is almost $4 trillion but they have no problem specifying $79 billion in IT spending, broken down not only by department, but even by project within each department. (An interesting note, and also the topic for an upcoming story, $13 billion of that $79 billion, or 16%, will go toward cybersecurity. Doesn’t the legislature, the public and the media have a right to know just how seriously the State of California is addressing this threat, and demonstrating its seriousness with similar and proportional budgetary verve?)

    Admittedly, the state has a new IT project approval process in the works called the State Technology Approval Reform (STAR) Project, plus a giant new financial system, FI$CAL. Under the best of circumstances (far from likely) these new initiatives may, emphasis on may, may address the IT budget and spending transparency issue. However, their implementation across the vast state government enterprise is still years away. But frankly, should it take years and a billion dollars to have agencies identify their IT investment every year. California can do better…



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