Yeah, you heard right. Under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the financially bust state of California spent $7,510,900.00 on government-issued swag over the last three years.
Of course, Governor Jerry Brown, being the frugal tightwad that we so love him to be (the flight, the cars, the phones), is doing away with all that nonsense right here and now, cutting swag from the California budget cold-turkey. If he's as serious as he sounds, not a single straggling bear-flag pin will remain.
As much as we love swag -- and we really, really love swag -- we've got to hand it to Brown. Look how much free shit these guys were gobbling up:
- Business, Transportation & Housing Agency $5,088,037.00
- State and Consumer Services Agency $1,154,960.00
- Health and Human Services Agency $778,678.00
- Department of Food & Agriculture $175,530.00
- Labor and Workforce Development Agency $129,012.00
- California Volunteers $77,387.00
- Environmental Protection Agency $48,317.00
- Emergency Management Agency $41,810.00
- Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation $12,201.00
- Department of Veterans Affairs $4,968.00
We've got our eye on you, Business, Transportation & Housing Agency. Now we know why you needed so many logos:
"Not a cent of taxpayer money should be spent on flashlights, ashtrays or other unnecessary items, most of which likely end up in landfills," said Governor Brown in a press release today. (So true about the landfills, BTW.)
And the obligatory social-services crowd-pleaser: "Every taxpayer dollar we save by cutting waste is a dollar that can be used to pay for critical public safety and social services."
In case you're still not really grasping this whole swag concept, let Jerry explain:
A statewide review revealed that from 2007 to 2010 state agencies and departments spent a total of $7.5 million on items including key chains, squeeze toys, pens, hats, trinkets, shirts, cups and other gift items known colloquially as "S.W.A.G," or "Stuff We All Get." These include promotional and marketing items across almost every agency in the state.
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(Squeeze toys? Wow. Things were worse than we thought. Maybe Schwarzenegger kept a few on hand, clutching occasionally, to ensure his forearms stayed Muscle Beach buff despite the desk job?)
We also asked Urban Dictionary about the swag thing, just to get a second take, and found it has some other great definitions, as well. These include Sista With a Gun and Scientific Wild Ass Guess. Awesome. You can take our flashlights, Brown, but you can never take our right to argue with zero evidence and hella guns.
R.I.P. California swag.