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Car Culture

Is State Wasting Money on Bloated Car Fleet? Gov. Orders Car Cuts.

1:32 PM PST on January 28, 2011

Brown famously gave up the Govenor's limousine in the 1970's and today.  Here he's caught getting in his 1974 Plymouth Satellite.  Photo: ## About Cars##
Brown famously gave up the Govenor's limousine in the 1970's and today. Here he's caught getting in his 1974 Plymouth Satellite. Photo: ## About Cars##

In an effort to balance the state budget, Governor Jerry Brown ordered all state agencies to immediately review their policies towards owning vehicles on behalf of the state and policies allowing permits for take-home vehicles, which allow state employees to use state-owned passenger cars for their daily commute.

If a permit is deemed non-essential, then it must be revoked.  If a vehicle is deemed non-essential, the agency must submit a plan to sell or otherwise cut the un-needed vehicle from the fleet. Brown's order also prohibits the purchase of new vehicles by any agency for non-emergency purposes.

“There is a lot of wasteful spending on cars that aren’t even driven,” Brown said. “And we can’t afford to spend taxpayer money on new cars while California faces such a massive deficit.”

The State estimates that there are approximately 11,000 passenger cars and trucks in the state fleet, and approximately 4,500 home storage permits, more than what are needed to serve health and safety functions.  Brown said his goal is to halve the number of the state’s passenger cars, trucks and home storage permits.

“Fifty percent is a starting point. If we find more waste, we’ll make more cuts,” Brown added.

Brown's order could cut over $16 million from the state's deficit.

Unlike in Los Angeles, where the City Council acted like spoiled children crying over a lost toy when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa suggested cutting the "executive car pool" available to himself, the Council and top staffers, many legislators were taking the initiative and refusing to use state owned vehicles.  Over half of the new state legislators, 18 of 31, have joined the Governor in turning down a state owned car, truck or SUV, the highest number in state history.  By comparison, just 13% of incumbent legislators made the same commitment.

This is not the first time that a Governor has made the first step to cut the state's mammoth vehicle fleet.  In 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered the state fleet reduced by 15%, saving the state $24 million a year.   Brown did not place an expected savings amount on his reduction.

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