Brown Bars ‘Nonessential’ Travel by California Workers to Save on Costs

California Governor Jerry Brown ordered an end to “nonessential” travel by employees, saying the expense can’t be justified in a time of fiscal austerity.

Brown issued an executive order prohibiting travel unless it is “mission-critical” or has no cost to the government. All in-state travel requires approval from agency secretaries, and out-of-state trips must be approved by the governor’s office.

Brown last week ordered agencies to begin collecting an estimated $13.3 million in travel and salary advancements to employees that weren’t valid or repaid.

“Our fiscal challenges demand that we take a much closer look at how taxpayer dollars are being spent within state government,” Brown said in a statement today. “Now is not the time to attend conferences, travel to meetings or take out-of- state field trips, and this executive order puts an end to it.”

The governor’s office hasn’t estimated how much money the order will save. Gil Duran, a Brown spokesman, said by phone today that agencies haven’t tracked travel costs in a uniform way. Duran couldn’t immediately answer whether the travel ban would apply to state pension systems.

“It’s been hard to nail down how much has been spent on travel,” Duran said.

Brown, a 73-year-old Democrat, worked with lawmakers to reduce the state’s estimated $25.4 billion budget deficit to about $15 billion through cuts to health care, education and other programs.

The governor has been traveling around California, the most populous state, to persuade Republican lawmakers to approve his proposal for a ballot measure that would extend $11 billion in tax and fee increases.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Nash in Sacramento at mmarois@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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