California budget includes $1.2B for new legislative offices
- California's $200 billion 2018 to 2019 budget, which state lawmakers sent to Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday for his signature, includes approximately $1.2 billion for demolition of the state Capitol building's 66-year old annex and construction of a new building that will house the governor's office, as well as those of legislators and their staffs, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
- The annex is not fully accessible to the disabled, has corroded water pipes and does not have an adequate number of fire sprinklers. The structure also does not line up with the Capitol building, with doors that lead to nowhere and misaligned floor connections. The state would build a new building first to temporarily house lawmakers, tear down the annex and then move them back in once the new annex is complete. The Capitol building will stay open during construction.
- The budget calls for $755 million to go toward construction and allows for $1.1 billion in lease revenue bonds for the entire demolition and replacement project. Lawmakers could face pushback from taxpayers as they try to justify their spending and potentially have to answer questions about why staff members were allowed to work in such hazardous conditions in the first place.
The federal government faces the same dilemma with many of its buildings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation's headquarters, for example, is reportedly outdated, inefficient and in dire need of replacement. For the last few years, the General Services Administration had been working on a plan to exchange the FBI's current J. Edgar Hoover building for a brand new one that a chosen developer would construct on one of three sites in either Maryland or Virginia. The initiative, however, lost steam for a few reasons.
Congress cut maximum federal funding for the project from a requested $834 million to $523 million and the GSA's inspector general issued a damaging report that criticized the agency's previous land-swap deals. Finally, in August 2017, the GSA announced that it was shelving the entire plan.
Recently, however, the House and Senate have started pushing the government to continue with its plan to build the agency's new headquarters on one of the GSA-approved sites in Maryland or Virginia, according to the Washington Business Journal, rather than continue with plans to replace the FBI building with a new structure on its current site.
- San Francisco Chronicle California lawmakers call in a $1.2 billion wrecking ball for their offices
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