SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is taking a page from David Letterman’s playbook and asking California’s top watchdog agencies to create “Top 10” lists for cutting waste and improving efficiency.

Brown sent letters to the state auditor and the Little Hoover Commission, a state oversight agency, asking for their help tackling the state’s nearly $27 billion budget gap.

It’s a move that could appease Republican lawmakers who say state government is bloated. “We must examine and re-examine every possible way to save taxpayer dollars,” Brown said in a statement.

Brown himself has been the model of thriftiness. On a recent trip to Southern California, he traveled on no-frills Southwest Airlines, forgoing paying an extra $16 to sit in business class. An entourage was nowhere to be found and instead of staying at a hotel, Brown said he stayed at a friend’s home for free.

The auditor’s office should be able to meet the governor’s March 4 deadline, said spokeswoman Margarita Fernandez. Brown asked each watchdog agency to produce a list and include five recommendations that he can implement by executive order.

“We received the request, and we’ll move to develop the list,” Fernandez said. “We think the audit work we’ve conducted as independent state auditor will be ready to provide the list in the time he wants.”

The state auditor is charged with examining agencies to identify potential waste, fraud and mismanagement in state government. The office also is responsible for investigating whistleblower complaints.

The Little Hoover Commission is charged with investigating state government operations. It is led by a bipartisan board composed of five citizen members appointed by the governor and four citizen members appointed by the Legislature, two senators and two Assembly members.

“Although your proposals often are not heeded, I want to hear and listen to your ideas and act on those that will enable government to effectively reduce costs and increase efficiencies,” Brown wrote in his letter to the watchdog agencies.

Brown is trying to save $363 million in operational costs next fiscal year. He imposed a hiring freeze on a state government work force of 234,000, halted new vehicle purchases by the state and ordered half the 96,000 cell phones issued to state bureaucrats to be turned in.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (7)
  1. Rick Giordani says:

    Gov. Lets start with how much the Top CHP and Fire Dept positions make on State salaries and cut them to something more down to earth like 20% cut and then lets cut State Senators salaries by 25% or more and ohh yea lets go after illegal immigrants that are on the welfare system and deport them back thus eliminating that problem. Lets put the inmates that are on Death row sitting there for the past decades on taxpayer tab and put them on the express lane to there final distination you might save several millions there

  2. Gordon Hayes says:

    Stop spending for illegal immigrants. It is time for the state to crack down on money wasted on people that are not citizens of this country.

  3. Rick james says:

    1) Cut state employee salaries; 2) cut state employee pensions; 3) cut total state employees; 4) Eliminate any and all benefits for illegal aliens; 5) Make legislature work part time and take away car benefits and most per diem expenses; 6) Require lowest cost fare for travel; motel and meal allowance for all state employees; 7) Send people on death row to death; 8) Reduce medical costs for prisoners and convicts; 9) lower state income taxes; 10) Cut regulation for any new projects as happened during the Northridge quake

  4. Cheese_Wonton says:

    The CHP budget is about $2.9 billion. Of that, $193 million is spent on inspections of commercial fleets and operating the roadside scales and inspection stations.
    Were it my call to make, I’d eliminate the CHP completely, put the whole commercial vehicle program including the roadside scales under CALTRANS, and take half of the remaining $2,7 billion or so and distribute this to countiy sheriffs to patrol their roads as they saw fit. That saves us around $1.3 to $1.4 billion.

  5. Cheese_Wonton says:

    Hmmm, Rick James seems to think cutting taxes will raise revenue. Someone falied basic macroeconomics, or never took it.

  6. fish wrap says:

    It’s really simple. Get rid of all the worthless comissions like the air resources board. And stop funding illegal immigration, stop paying them welfare, that will fill the remaining gap.

  7. budget guy says:

    We can increase our long tern revenue by establishing large flood plains and relocating homes and businesses from low lying areas that flood. Our largest source of income is agriculture, which require large amounts of snow and water. But the people in the low areas pray against rain and snow because they fear flooding. Move em, then we can all pray for rain and snow. Then we don’t have to worry about fish or crops, we get both and skiing, and boating, and power:)

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