03 August 2009
The state of California has saved $27 million (£16.4 million) after renegotiating property rental contracts. It follows governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's crackdown on "wasteful" spending by state departments.
The Department of General Services changed the terms of 1,200 commercial leases and predicts the efforts will save up to $100 million (£60.6 million) over the course of the contracts.
Announcing the savings last month, Schwarzenegger said: "The state is saving real dollars that can be directed to other vital areas. My administration will continue to tighten its belt and cut costs just like every other California family and business is doing."
In late June, the governor demanded all state departments cut spending on goods and services by 15 per cent, to rebalance California's $24.3 billion (£14.7 billion) budget deficit.
In addition, departments are prohibited from entering into new contracts, amending deals or issuing purchase orders unless signed off by the state secretary.
The governor has launched a "waste watchers" website, through which Californians can report wasteful spending and make suggestions for improving the efficiency of state departments.
As a result of the website it was discovered government employees were misusing the state's vehicle fleet and taking cars home. This month Schwarzenegger ordered the fleet be reduced by 15 per cent by selling off "surplus" vehicles.
"Any waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars is absolutely unacceptable," he said.