Gov. Gregoire signs performance audit legislation

Legislation & Testimony

Today, in Olympia, Governor Christine Gregoire officially signed into law House Bill 1064, the landmark performance audit legislation long sought by state auditor Brian Sonntag and legislators who hope to improve accountability in government.

House Bill 1064 originally passed the state House of Representatives back in February. The Senate revised the bill and approved it on April 7th.

The revised bill authorizes the state auditor, in collaboration with a Citizen Oversight Board, to develop and implement a plan for performance audits of state government.

The Legislature found that the performance audit activities of the joint legislative audit and review committee (JLARC) should be supplemented by making fuller use of the state auditor’s resources and capabilities.

Thanks to this morning’s signing in the Governor’s Conference Room, the state auditor will have the power to conduct performance audits of state agencies.

Permanent Defense Chair Andrew Villeneuve said of the signing: “This is a clear win for Washington State taxpayers. The Governor and the state legislature have done their job and acted on this important issue.”

The signing 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, and the Governor’s approval, Washington State can move forward,” Villeneuve added. “Initiative 900 doesn’t solve anything. Instead of fixing a problem, this initiative will only create new problems.”

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