Testimony: Requiring the State Auditor to Audit All State Agencies (LD 664)
Testimony in Support of LD 664, “Resolve, Directing the State Auditor to Audit All State Agencies ”
Senator Nangle, Representative Stover, and the distinguished members of the Committee on State and Local Government, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 664.
We commend Rep. Andrews and the other co-sponsors for backing this bill. LD 664 is necessary for basic public transparency given the recent, massive increase in state spending. Today, the state government spends 10% more per Mainer than it did four years ago, and that’s accounting for inflation.
The bill would direct the State Auditor to conduct an audit of Maine state government in order to ascertain the trajectory of how each agency has grown in size and scope over the last 20 years.
Given the opaque methods employed by both the executive branch’s Bureau of the Budget (BOB), and the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal and Program Review (OFPR), the task of accounting for the entire state budget is one much beyond the ability of most layman. In fact, when Maine Policy Institute contracted with a team of internationally-recognized economists to develop a blueprint for future Maine state budgets, compiling the totals for each fund, in the different ways that each budgeting office records them, was not possible.
Short of a full modernization of government, public access to critical, yet basic information about how the state spends taxpayer dollars, is severely lacking. One day, lawmakers should direct these offices to develop a one-stop transparency portal in which every program line and its corresponding funding source is provided in an easy-to-use format. This would ensure that audits like this would not be necessary.
Please deem LD 664 “Ought To Pass” and ensure that Mainers are provided with the bare minimum of fiscal and budgetary transparency from their government. Thank you for your time and consideration.