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Lawmakers approve audits of UC spending and delta tunnels project

 (Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)

California legislators on Wednesday gave the green light to formal audits of several parts of state government, including UC President Janet Napolitano's office and Gov. Jerry Brown's ambitious plan to build underground water tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region.

The water project, now estimated to cost some $16 billion to build, has been mired in legal and political controversy for several years. The audit, requested by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) and Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), was sparked by criticism over spending on the delta project's preliminary stages.

Meanwhile, the audit of Napolitano's office is the latest salvo in a pitched political battle between legislators and the UC president over university spending and budget priorities. State auditors will examine both how Napolitano spends money and whether there are enough internal budget controls across the University of California system.

“We must be assured the maximum resources are directed to classrooms and student services," said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the lawmaker who requested the audit, in a written statement.

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