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Lawmakers discuss bill to abolish state auditor’s office

Published: Feb. 12, 2020 at 10:33 AM CST
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State lawmakers talked about a bill Tuesday that would abolish the state auditor’s office.

The state auditor is in charge of making sure state property is accounted for, making sure any state property costing more than $500, like laptops and vehicles, is not lost or stolen. The bill would move all of the auditor’s responsibilities into the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts. That department performs the primary audit of expenditures.

The bill sponsor says consolidating the responsibilities into one department will save the state money, though he did not know how much.

“We think by consolidating those responsibilities with the Department of Examiners, we can save money and do more with taxpayer dollars,” Sen. Andrew Jones, R-Etowah County.

The state auditor, however, says his job is important, and it would not save as much money.

“It’s legend that things will be appropriated for one purpose and then spent on somebody’s pet project," State Auditor Jim Zeigler said. "We need a tough auditor, not to abolish the auditor.”

The state auditor’s office currently is allotted about $920,000 each year.

If the bill passed the state legislature, it would go to the people as a constitutional amendment for a vote. The committee decided to hold off on a vote Tuesday, but they could expect to see one in the future.

If the people approved it this November, it would not go into effect until after the current state auditor’s term is up in 2022.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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