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Brown downplaying $54M+ Parks Department surplus

A closed sign at a state park is shown in this undated file photo.
July 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
California Gov. Jerry Brown is downplaying the significance of $54 million found sitting in a state parks department account.

The surplus money was revealed last Friday, and some immediately called it a scandal.

Supporters of the parks spent the last year raising money to save 70 of them from closing due to budget cuts. Brown says it's the first so-called problem he's seen where people in government actually saved money.

"When somebody comes and says, 'Hey, guess what, we have some money over here,' that's better than saying, 'Whoops we don't have the money,"' he said, adding that "more money is better than less money."

Brown did, however, say the state will look into the secret parks money as well as all special funds.

The scandal erupted days after a report surfaced involving secret parks department vacation time buyouts of more than $271,000. The disclosure led to the parks director's resignation, an investigation by the attorney general, and an audit by Brown's Department of Finance.

Lawmakers are also planning to look into department finances when they return from their month-long summer recess on Aug. 6.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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