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California’s victims restitution fund running on empty

February 20, 2011

In 2008, lawmakers took $80 million from the fund. Of that, lawmakers classified $45.2 million as payback for a 1994 general fund bailout of the restitution fund. The rest was a shift to the general fund.

“We’ve gotten the impression they will not be paying it back,” said Phillip Ung, a spokesman for the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Lawmakers also have made the victims aid the source of money for unrelated programs. About $11 million annually goes to the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention program known as CalGRIP and a state task force targeting Internet crimes against children.

The claims board’s administrative costs also have come under scrutiny.

A December 2008 state audit found that overhead consumed 26 percent to 41 percent of restitution fund spending from July 2001 through June 2005.

A 2008 report by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said the agency’s administrative costs seemed to exceed those in eight other states.

Read the whole article.


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