The DED Gets Audited . . . Hilarity Does Not Ensue (Part 3)
The final part of the Missouri auditor’s report, which was released in September, on the Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Division of Business and Community Services (BCS) deals more with the governor’s office than it does with the BCS. According to the report, the DED paid for more than 160 flights for the governor’s office. Close to $80,000 of that was allocated to the BCS. Of the 121 flights the auditor’s office reviewed, 99 were for the governor to publicize economic development incentives and the creation of jobs. Twenty-two of the flights had no clear benefit to the DED or the BCS.
This year, the governor’s office and mansion received more than $2 million in appropriations. If the governor wants to fly all over the state trumpeting new factory openings, then at the very least, he should be using his own office’s funds. Personally, I think a press release would be sufficient.
It should be noted that the governor’s office does not just charge expenses to the DED. According to a separate audit of the governor’s office, from January 2009 to June 2011, the governor’s office charged approximately $1.7 million in expenses to other state agencies.
It is stuff like this that gets people’s heads shaking. If the governor thinks he needs more money to do his job, he should request additional appropriations, not rack up expenses as he sees fit and have other agencies foot the bill. Even the audit report agrees when it recommends that:
The Office of Governor discontinue the practice of using other agency appropriations to pay the operating costs of the Governor’s office. The Office of Governor should request funding levels sufficient to pay all operating costs of the office and mansion from its own appropriations.
Due to the economic slowdown and subsequent loss of revenue, the state has had to tighten its belt. The governor’s office should be no exception.