The most important responsibility the Legislature is charged with is to write and pass a balanced budget on behalf of the citizens of this state. Just like a family budgeting their dollars, we know there will always be more needs and wants than resources—so just like that family, it’s our job to prioritize the state’s needs and make appropriations accordingly. In order to do that to our utmost abilities, we need the most accurate financial information possible. Unfortunately, we know from past experience that isn’t always the case.
I think the State Health Department debacle a couple of years back is a prime example of that. Some 200 employees were either let go or forced to take early retirement after the agency announced it had a $30 million shortfall. Questions were raised about how funds were used in other programs. A subsequent audit revealed showed there actually hadn’t been a shortfall, but there had been financial mismanagement.
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