Monday, March 2, 2009

Doesn't seem real transparent to me...

Gov. Strickland is late for his audit. I thought he ran two years ago on a platform of government transparency???

This is an article from the
Auditor Taylor: Strickland tardy in turning over records for audit
By William Hershey | Monday, March 2, 2009, 02:18 PM

Auditor Mary Taylor on Monday, March 2, said she can’t audit the state’s books for the last fiscal year because Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration so far hasn’t turned over the necessary financial records.

Taylor, Ohio’s only Republican statewide executive officeholder, said the delay appears “unprecedented” and calls into question Democrat Strickland’s commitment to being transparent and accountable to the voters.

“How will the governor know where to go fiscally if he doesn’t know where he’s been?” Taylor asked at a press conference at her office.

State Auditor Mary Taylor
The financial records she needs detail how much money the state took in, how the money was spent and how much was on hand on June 30, 2008, the end of the last fiscal year.

Taylor sent a letter to Strickland, House Speaker Armond Budish, D-Beachwood, and Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland outlining her concerns. She also sent the letter to William Shkurti, Ohio State University senior vice president and chairman of the State Audit Committee.

Strickland spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said that Strickland was “concerned about the delay and has asked the Office of Budget and Management and other agencies to pull this information together as quickly as possible.”

Taylor said she understands there have been problems with the state’s $158 million OAKS payroll and accounting system but added that her office had been able to pull the data it needed for its audit from the system.

Strickland understands that state agencies are completing their financial reporting with this system for the first time, said Wurst.

“I am aware of the burden of implementing a new accounting system, however, failing to prioritize preparation of financial statements stands in the way of a timely audit and I believe the taxpayers of Ohio deserve nothing less,” Taylor said in the letter.

The auditor also said the lack of an audit on the state’s financial condition could affect the bond rating, which determines how much it costs to borrow money.

If a school district or local government had been this tardy in providing the records, Taylor said she would have declared it “unauditable” which in some cases would have resulted in financial penalties. There is no deadline for the state to provide the financial records for the audit, she said. She said she might discuss establishing such a deadline with the legislature.

Taylor’s letter comes with the current fiscal year set to expire June 30, 2009, and the legislature now working on a new two-year budget in the midst of a major economic slowdown and decline in state revenues.

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