State 9/11 Fund Diverted From Scholarships, 'Raided'

A fund designed to help children of 9/11 victims went instead to other state costs.

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, May 29, 2012  |  Updated 2:51 PM PDT
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State 9/11 Fund Diverted From Scholarships, 'Raided'

Bob Inderbitzen

The license plates say "Never Forget." It's too bad state bean counters never remembered.

"Only a small fraction" of the $15 million donated into California's 9/11 memorial fund since 2001 -- the "California Memorial Scholarship Program," funded by drivers buying memorial license plates and intended to pay for the schooling of California children whose parents died on Sept. 11, 2001 -- has gone towards scholarships, according to the Associated Press.

Instead, about 40 percent of the money has paid for anti-terror training programs, and another $3 million was "raided" by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and current Gov. Jerry Brown to fill the state's budget deficit, the AP reported.

And the 9/11 license plates no longer fund any 9/11 memorial fund, though the state Department of Motor Vehicles continues to advertise the 9/11 memorial license plates as going towards the fund, the AP reported. The license plates stopped going towards the fund seven years ago, the AP reported.

The plates cost $50, plus a $40 annual review fee. All four of the jets hijacked on 9/11 were headed to California, where the plates have been bought or renewed 200,000 times in the past decade, the AP reported.

The DMV still advertises on its web site that the plates fund scholarships. A DMV spokesman admitted that the description is "out of date," the AP reported.

"Only $21,381 has reached the children and spouses of the three dozen California residents killed during the terrorist attacks," the AP reported -- about 1.5 percent of the $5.5 million collected.

$6 million has funded law enforcement training. Loads of other cash went to pay for all sorts of projects at the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the AP reported.
 

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