Con­troller ‘gravely con­cerned’ about state’s $1 bil­lion ac­count­ing pro­gram

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - News - BY WES VENTEICHER wven­te­[email protected]

State Con­troller Betty Yee is “gravely con­cerned” that prob­lems with the state’s ac­count­ing soft­ware could un­der­mine Cal­i­for­nia’s credit wor­thi­ness, she wrote in a re­cent let­ter to leg­is­la­tors.

Ef­forts to tie a new com­puter pro­gram into the state’s legacy sys­tems have de­layed monthly cash reports and are threat­en­ing the ac­cu­racy of the state’s an­nual fi­nan­cial re­port, which is typ­i­cally pub­lished at the end of April, Yee wrote.

If the an­nual re­port is in­ac­cu­rate, it could neg­a­tively af­fect the state’s credit rat­ing, which in­flu­ences bor­row­ing costs for spend­ing on things like in­fra­struc­ture projects.

The com­puter pro­gram, called Fi$Cal, has cost the state more than $900 mil­lion and has re­peat­edly been de­layed since its 2005 launch. Yee, echo­ing a Jan­uary rec­om­men­da­tion from the state au­di­tor, said more de­lays are needed.

“We need to pause and di­rect re­sources to mak­ing Fi$Cal work as it was in­tended to work,” she wrote. “Con­tin­u­ing to push ahead by adding fea­tures that do not work or bring­ing more de­part­ments into the trou­bled sys­tem will cost tax­pay­ers ex­po­nen­tially more in the long run.”

Yee ad­dressed the state Se­nate and Assem­bly bud­get com­mit­tees in her March 18 let­ter.

Assem­bly­man Jim Pat­ter­son, R-Fresno, a mem­ber of the Assem­bly’s bud­get com­mit­tee, said Yee’s let­ter should add new ur­gency to the state’s ef­forts to im­prove its use of tech­nol­ogy.

“It’s amaz­ing to me,” Pat­ter­son said. “We are the fifth-largest econ­omy on the planet, we’re al­most 20 years into the 21st cen­tury, we’re the home of Silicon Val­ley and we have such a fouled up ac­count­ing sys­tem that it jeop­ar­dizes our credit rat­ing.”

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