Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping that the “Great California Garage Sale” will turn government clutter like surplus prison uniforms and office furniture into cash to bulk up the state's depleted finances.
On offer as the state clears out clutter are nearly 600 state-owned vehicles and thousands of pieces of office furniture, computers, electronics, jewelry, pianos, even a surfboard and an Xbox 360 gaming system.
State officials estimate the giant two-day yard sale being held at a state warehouse will bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to clearing out office products, the state is also selling unclaimed property from state parks and items confiscated by law enforcement, said California Department of General Services spokesman Eric Lamoureux.
The prison department contributed dental chairs and surplus prison shirts and jeans.
“Welcome to our garage sale,” Schwarzenegger told reporters during a warehouse tour Friday morning. “As you know we're trying to raise some extra money here, getting rid of the old stuff we don't use anymore.”
A selection of the items was sold on eBay and Craigslist. Schwarzenegger autographed 15 car visors and four California Highway Patrol motorcycles in an effort to fetch more money during the two-day sale, which ends at noon today.
California sure could use the cash: the state was force to hand out IOUs earlier this year, government workers are on the brink of revolt over a 14 percent pay cut and the state remains in an interminable state of financial morass.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel recently spoofed the upcoming garage sell, saying the governor was so desperate he was selling everything from a set of burned dumbbells for $10 to a pair of first lady Maria Shriver's leg warmers for $8.
“We are out of money here in California,” Kimmel said. “I don't know how much this is going to raise for the state but you can see the governor is going all out with this.”
The idea for a garage sale came from state employees and was put into motion by Schwarzenegger through an executive order earlier this year.
After signing the order to reduce the state's 40,000 government vehicles by 15 percent, Schwarzenegger posted a video message thanking his Twitter followers for their budget-balancing ideas, including one follower's suggestion to autograph state-owned vehicles up for auction.