A legislative budget panel this afternoon will delve into the six-week backlog of work at the secretary of state's office, which was first reported by The Bee last week.
The Assembly's Budget Subcommittee No. 4, which focuses on state administration, put the issue at the top of its agenda for today's 1:30 p.m. hearing at the Capitol. You can listen to an audio feed of the hearing by clicking here.
Lawmakers are concerned that approximately 122,000 business documents are stacked up at Secretary of State Debra Bowen's agency. For companies waiting for their initial business startup paperwork to be processed, the delays can put off hiring and push back when they begin pay taxes. The backlog also postpones when the state can cash checks for fees that accompany most filings.
Officials in Bowen's office attribute some of the delay to year-end filings that add significantly to the workload. The agency has diverted staff and hired temporary employees to whittle down the backlog that, on average, is running about 43 days.
By comparison, Texas turns around similar filings in three to five days, but its system takes advantage of online automation to process forms. California's system still uses paper. The state plans to roll out an electronic filing system in 2016.
PHOTO CREDIT: Secretary of State Debra Bowen in 2010. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee