Controller Gray Davis on Tuesday proposed giving the state Franchise Tax Board more power to collect the $6 billion owed to state and local agencies.
Davis said at a news conference that consolidating debt collection under the board, of which he is chairman, could mean an extra $500 million a year for local government.
Nearly 2,000 state and local agencies are responsible for collecting debts, including building fees, court fines, student loans, property taxes, parking tickets, child support and Department of Motor Vehicle fees.
Davis said that duplication often occurs and that emphasis on debt collection varies from agency to agency.
Pursuit of debtors has been consolidated in eight other states, where debt collections have risen by 5% to 10%, Davis said. California's $6 billion in debt--$4.2 billion of which is owed to county governments--surpasses the budgets of 31 other states, he said.