Indiana Senate Democrat Leader Vi Simpson (D-Ellettsville) released the following response to the recent investigation of late fees charged to several departments under the Daniels administration.
"With each new month another example of failed fiscal leadership is discovered. This is a trend that taxpayers cannot afford.
"The habitual mismanagement of millions of dollars of public funds is unacceptable and warrants serious investigation as well as increased legislative oversight.
"We secured a commitment to conduct an independent audit after the first three mistakes occurred. Unfortunately, the audit is limited to the Department of Revenue. It is obvious that the scope of the audit should be expanded to include all financial offices of state government as well as all payment processes. And we must move forward with that audit as swiftly as possible to uncover and resolve any other errors that might be on the horizon.
"New mistakes each month only hinder our ability to get back on track.
"This administration has cast itself as a paragon of fiscal responsibility. Episodes such as these diminish public confidence and make it more difficult for legislators to determine our true fiscal standing. The legislature has a responsibility to the people of Indiana to reconcile these errors before we begin another budget cycle.
"Republicans have continually said they want to address the 'waste' in government, but it seems they have instead created more waste of taxpayer money through these management mistakes.
"The governor says 'paying bills early is the mismanagement of funds'. I strongly disagree. Paying bills on time works best for the millions of Hoosiers who try to avoid late fees and interest costs. And it works best for the hundreds of small business people who are waiting on the money owed to them by the State."
This most recent fiscal blunder comes just weeks after an announcement of an April excise tax distribution error by the Office of the Auditor. That announcement was discovered after two additional major mistakes of fiscal mismanagement by the administration that involve more than a half billion dollars.
Following a motion made by Indiana Senate Democrats, the State Budget Committee unanimously agreed to begin the process of conducting an independent audit of the state's fiscal practices.
For more information on Sen. Simpson, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit http://www.senatedemocrats.in.gov/.
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