Your Opinion: Auditor required to provide estimate
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Missouri statutes established the office of the state auditor as an auditing and advisory agency, with no power of enforcement. As noted by the news media, recent remarks attributed to the new state auditor were to the effect that the office will see that recommendations in future reports will be implemented. It is interesting how this will be carried out as legal enforcement issues are addressed by the state attorney general’s office. Legal issues cost money.
State law requires that the state auditor issue a fiscal note on certain initiative petitions seeking a statewide vote on changing the way the state gets certain income.
The law establishes methods of assessment by consulting with others that have pertinent knowledge of any proposal and to issue a fiscal note and summary stating the measures estimated cost or savings to governmental entities.
In reference to the Fair Tax amendments, the state auditor concluded there were so many things left to the future that it would not be fiscally responsible to quantify a petition without knowing what the Legislature is going to do. Is the state auditor above the requirements of the law?
No one knows what the Legislature will do in the future; however, state law has requirements based on educated estimates. An estimate is not absolute, but is a study in question of the basic elements used to consider what needs to be addressed. A budget of any entity is an estimate of the future, regardless of what the Legislature will act on.
The state Office of Administration has given their best shot on addressing the proposed petitions and the state budget. These are starting points for the Legislature to take necessary actions.
Hopefully the state auditor will reconsider actions to be taken.
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