California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the sale of 15 percent of the state's vehicle fleet—worth an estimated $24 million—to reduce surplus and address complaints about the use of vehicles by state employees. Per the Sacramento Bee:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday ordered that 15 percent of California's motor vehicle fleet be sold in a massive "garage sale," declaring he wants to clean up potential "abuse of taxpayer dollars," including allowing certain employees to take state vehicles home.
The governor said the order resulted from disclosures to a newly created "Waste Watchers Web site." The complaints detailed allegations that some workers were storing state vehicles at home without apparent justification.
"Today I am taking action to get rid of waste and abuse in the state's vehicle fleet … eliminate all wasteful home storage permits, and sell surplus cars at our state garage sale next month," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. [...]
The state Department of General Services reported that the vehicle sell-off could save the state $24.1 million over the next year.
Under the governor's order, the state will identify every light-duty vehicle under 8,500 pounds and determine which state employees are required to use the vehicles in their official duties. The governor's plan would then reduce by 20 percent the number of workers who are allowed to store state vehicles at home.
In the proclamation, the governor declares: "The state of California is committed to ensuring there is a significant business need for employees to use a state vehicle and, when required by state or federal law, that these employees are reporting such use for tax purposes."
The proclamation said the vehicle sell-off will also focus on removing "higher polluting vehicles from the state fleet and replacing them with newer, more fuel efficient models."
While this represents just a drop in the bucket of the state's current $20+ billion deficit, it's a sensible move and should be applauded by taxpayers. If policymakers were to give this same level of scrutiny to every other state service and activity, the likely savings would be tremendous.
If policymakers were to take the next step and evaluate potential privatization opportunities in vehicle fleet services, they'd stand to realize even greater cost savings and operational benefits.