October 16th, 2005
Municipal League Opposes Initiative 900
Here’s their rationale:
Performance audits can be valuable as a management and accountability tool to enhance governmental efficiency. They should be used judiciously by independent, non political auditors to effect improvements in individual agencies and programs. The performance audit legislation ESHB 1064 already passed by the Legislature in 2005 provides such a mechanism and funds it appropriately. It provides for citizen input and oversight, selective audits based on criteria and a work plan, and conformance to governmental audit standards.
Initiative 900, in contrast, uses performance audits to wage a political debate by other means. It throws an excessive amount of money at an overly broad set of audit mandates. It is far from clear that the benefit of blanket state and local government audits will exceed the very high cost of conducting and responding to many audits each year. The questions that the initiative requires the auditors to answer in each performance audit are far from neutral and assume that waste and misfeasance must be present in each audited agency. It grants the state auditor a dedicated funding source and broad auditing powers over all of state and local government without any checks or balances such as citizen oversight or legislative review and appropriation, thus creating opportunity for political mischief.
For these reasons, the Municipal League opposes I-900.
We agree. Vote NO on Initative 900.