OUR OPINION: State audits will focus on persistent rumor

Facts trump rumor.

A persistent rumor in state government alleges departments indulge in spending sprees at the end of a budget year, rather than invite a reduced allocation.

In an attempt to affirm or dismiss that notion, State Auditor Tom Schweich announced recently he will audit the budget year-end spending of a number of the state’s largest agencies.

“It’s intuitive that you don’t want your budget reduced, so you find a way to spend all the money you have,” Schweich said, acknowledging the rationale behind the rumor.

“But,” he added, “no one’s ever actually gone out and analyzed whether that actually happens.”

We welcome the analysis, regardless of the conclusions reached.

The innuendo casts aspersions on the various agencies, implying they place selfish concerns above the greater good of efficient governing.

If accusations of self-interest prove accurate, government, as in taxpayers, could save what Schweich characterized as “millions of dollars.”

In addition, department heads must be held accountable and procedures must be put in place to prevent a recurrence.

If, however, audit findings show the allegations are false, Schweich said, “then we put these rumors to rest.”

The time has come to put this persistent rumor to the detailed accounting of an audit and, based on the results, eliminate either the rumor or the practice.

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