The ongoing war between California state officials and the Trump administration is costing the state's taxpayers millions of dollars, data from the California Department of Justice indicates.
Since President Trump took office in January 2017, California has filed 44 lawsuits against the administration, while the federal government has filed three against California. For the 2017-18 fiscal year, the state's tab for legal fees has been more than $9 million – up from nearly $3 million the previous year, the Sacramento Bee reported.
State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, has downplayed the costs involved in the California vs. Trump war, pointing out that it amounts to less than 1 percent of the state Department of Justice’s $894 million annual budget. He said the costs were a small price to pay to fight federal overreach.
“When you put into perspective that less than one percent of our budget is going to defend our people, our values and our resources, I think most people would say ‘Don’t stop,’” Becerra said. “[A]ny one of those items … would dwarf what we’d have to spend for all the litigation efforts that we’ve undertaken to defend the state of California against the federal government’s intrusion.
“Just because California and its Democratic leaders disagree with something the president or his administration does, that doesn’t mean the courts are the place to have that disagreement.”
By not fighting back against Trump, Becerra said, California risks losing billions per year in externalities. But Republicans have accused Democratic leaders of wasting taxpayer money.
“Just because California and its Democratic leaders disagree with something the president or his administration does, that doesn’t mean the courts are the place to have that disagreement,” said Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney for the Republican National Committee. “Xavier Becerra is misusing the courts to score political points.”
Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the ongoing lawsuits amount to “little more than political posturing by California politicians.”
“Compared to the $120 billion state general fund, it may not seem like much, but it’s symbolic of an attitude of waste and foolish pursuits by our state government officials,” Coupal said.
Of the 44 lawsuits filed in the last 21 months against the Trump administration, the majority are still pending, the Bee reported.