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A report published by Politico claims that the pandemic has revealed new failings in the rickety technology that underpins public services in California, most recently leading Gov. Gavin Newsom to trumpet an erroneous decline in coronavirus infections.

The Silicon Valley state’s woes reflect a larger problem in public-sector technology that has plagued governments for years – but are coming to the fore during the nation’s coronavirus crisis.

Florida’s unemployment claims website, built by Deloitte, has faltered so badly this year that Gov. Ron DeSantis called it a “jalopy.” Other states, such as Wisconsin and New Jersey, are likewise struggling to keep pace with claims in part because they say their systems rely on decades-old programming language.

Almost every month we are briefed on yet another incredible IT failure in state government,” said California Assemblyman David Chiu, a San Francisco Democrat. “The challenge that state government has with technology has been going on for years, if not decades.”

On top of California’s backlog of nearly 1 million unemployment claims, the state has experienced longstanding issues at the Department of Motor Vehicles – whose offices only began accepting credit card payments last year.

California’s IT problems stem in part from chronic underinvestment in new technology and mismanagement of the money it has put into upgrades. Paradoxically, California’s state services also suffer from the wealth of technological know-how in their own backyard.

The pandemic has forced various state systems into overdrive. None has been tested like the Employment Development Department, which is buckling under a tenfold increase in people filing for unemployment and having to send checks to 4.4 million residents – more than 1 in 5 workers statewide.

71 state lawmakers said in a letter to Newsom last week. The letter pointed out a litany of failures at the EDD, including taking up to six weeks to return customer service phone calls; not providing translation of documents into languages other than English; and not allowing applicants to edit their applications once submitted or upload verification documents.

A more systemic problem, lawmakers said, is the state’s overreliance on contractors who routinely come in tens of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.

A billion-dollar project by Accenture to revamp the state’s accounting, budgeting and procurement systems, called Fi$Cal, has been underway for the past 15 years; it was originally envisioned to take six years and cost $138 million. Last year, Newsom increased its budget by $150 million while at the same time narrowing its scope.

EDD’s latest modernization plan has been underway since 2016 and isn’t scheduled to finish until 2027. A previous attempt by EDD’s longtime contractor, Deloitte, in 2010 ended up costing twice the original estimate and “never solved basic problems,” the lawmakers said in their letter.

Deloitte has received at least $259 million to do work on EDD’s IT system over the years, including at least two no-bid contracts during this pandemic,” they wrote. “It’s clear that despite all of the money Deloitte has been paid, it has not successfully resolved EDD’s IT challenges or modernized its system.”

Deloitte did not respond to a request for comment this week.