Brown moves to cut back state vehicle fleet

January 28, 2011 7:49:03 PM PST
In yet another measure to cut costs, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order to scale back the state fleet of cars, including an immediate stop to car purchases.

Brown believes about 11,000 vehicles do not serve a public safety or health function. Another 4,500 permits allow certain state workers to take vehicles home for their daily commute.

"I've noticed a lot of cars being driven by state workers so I put out the order we're cutting them in half and we're going to look to see that every use of a state car is needed," Brown said.

The order is expected to save $16.5 million dollars a year, getting praise from taxpayer groups.

"The area of government-owned cars and the abuse of the vehicle fleet has been one of our pet peeves for many, many years," Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association spokesperson Jon Coupal said.

Earlier this month, Brown ordered half of nearly 100,000 state-issued cell phones be turned in by June with Brown being the first to give his up.

The fleet and cell phone cuts may be small, but the move may be laying the ground work for a bigger plan -- asking voters to extend the temporary tax hikes.

"He realizes that as long as there are those massive fleets out there and state employees that have all these cell phones, that argument for more tax increases is more difficult," Coupal said.

A poll out this week shows strong support for Brown to put the tax hikes on a special election ballot, but getting them to approve them may be bigger hurdle.

"Each year, it seems like we're asked to pay more and more and more, and we're getting less and less and less," resident Rod Dallou said.

Brown's state-of-the-state address Monday is expected to make the case with voters for their help in getting California back on track.

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