August 2, 2010
Our View: Renew the forensic audit call
The Journal Standard
Once again the Quinn administration has an “oops,” moment.
Illinois Budget Director David Vaught let it slip last Thursday that the Governor plans to seek a 67-percent increase in the state income tax next January. Vaught has subsequently been scolded by Quinn for his honestly, which could hurt the incumbent governor in his re-election bid on Nov. 2.
To hear local State Representative Jim Sacia and State Senator Tim Bivins tell it, however, Springfield is awash in government waste and raising taxes will do nothing more than throw good money after bad. Both politicians have told audiences throughout the summer that Illinois is broke, and before legislation to raise taxes is considered, our lawmakers need to address a culture of spiraling spending.
We agree, and we continue the call for a forensic audit in Illinois.
This idea first surfaced during the failed Republican gubernatorial candidacy of Adam Andrzejewski, who pointed to successes in Kansas and Texas. Forensic audits in both states saved more than $1 billion and identified duplication of government services, fraud, and all sorts of waste.
Who can blame the state Republican Party and our local representatives for insisting that Illinois legislators focus first on cutting spending, before they worry about raising more revenue?
The cost of accomplishing a forensic audit is estimated at $60 million, and the return on that investment is expected to top $1.25 billion. The math is simple, and the expenditure is justified.
Spending is Springfield has increased 39-percent, including adjustments for inflation, during the past 10 years. Yet our Legislature appears to be at a loss on where the money is going. Instead of addressing that confusion, Quinn has decided to furlough his staff, release prisoners from prison early, and propose a 67-percent increase in the income tax.
In the meantime, Illinois has stopped paying its shared revenue obligations to schools, municipalities and social service agencies, pushing its debt problem from Springfield to local agencies.
This is a state out of control, and without real direction to solve its problems. A forensic audit would be a first step in the right direction, identifying steps to bring the spending under control.
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