Performance audits bill clears state Legislature

Legislation & Testimony

Yesterday, in Olympia, the Washington State House of Representatives concurred with Senate amendments to House Bill 1064, approving the revised bill with 75 voting yes and 22 voting no. The action sends the performance audit legislation to the desk of Governor Christine Gregoire. The original House Bill 1064 passed back in February. The Senate revised the bill and approved it on April 7th.

The revised bill orders the elected state auditor to hire independent contractors to do annual performance audits of state agencies. A panel of citizens will work with the auditor and produce a yearly report card grading state agencies.

Yesterday, the House gave its consent to those revisions and cleared the legislation to be signed into state law.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve said of the vote: “This is a clear win for Washington State taxpayers. The state Legislature has acted on this important issue and passed legislation for the governor to sign.”

The passage of the legislation shows that ill-conceived Initiative 900 from Tim Eyman is not needed. And unlike House Bill 1064, Initiative 900 was not drafted with public input.

Initiative 900 overloads Washington State with audits. It requires every government agency and program in the state, including local governments, to be audited. The state auditor’s office says implementing I-900 would cost $90 million every two years.

The office also says the initiative will require the auditor’s office to expand four times its current size and will take a decade or longer to fully implement.

“Thanks to the Legislature’s action on this issue, Washington State can move forward,” Villeneuve added. “Initiative 900 doesn’t solve anything. It’s like enlarging a wound instead of applying a bandage.”

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