In response to an embarrassing six-week queue of business filings, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure today that immediately sends $1.6 million to the California secretary of state's office to relieve the backlog.
Lawmakers acted after a March 6 report in The Sacramento Bee revealed that more than 120,000 forms, many with filing fees attached, were stacked up in the agency's Sacramento headquarters.
Secretary of State Debra Bowen blamed the delay on the cyclical nature of the filings, budget cuts imposed by the Legislature and a paper-based system in desperate need of automation.
Some form-processing delays hamper business startups. Other states, such as New York, Texas and Nevada, use web-based technology to turn around similar filings in a week or less.
The measure Brown signed, Assembly Bill 113, gives Bowen money from the current budget to pay for overtime and to hire temporary workers between now and June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Legislative leaders have said they intend to appropriate more money over the next few years to get business filing wait times down to 10 days or less and then maintain that benchmark until a new automated system comes online in 2016.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown. Hector Amezcua / Sacramento Bee file, 2012