House Bill 2, which will help make state spending more efficient and accountable, today passed unanimously from the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 97-0. This legislation will require the Ohio Auditor of State to conduct performance audits of at least four state agencies each biennium, beginning with the Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Transportation, and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

State Representatives Todd Snitchler (R-Uniontown) and Peter Stautberg (R-Anderson Twp.), who jointly sponsored this bill, have strongly advocated for the biennial evaluation of state-funded agencies as a way to help save tax dollars and reduce wasteful spending.

“When the State of Washington conducted a similar audit, the state identified nearly $4 billion in potential savings,” said Snitchler. “With an $8 billion budget deficit that must be filled, House Bill 2 is just one piece of the complex puzzle that lawmakers must solve over the coming months. If we have the opportunity to trim millions of dollars in waste and inefficiency from the state budget, we should capitalize on this idea and the possible cost savings we can find.”

Performance audits provide a comprehensive report on the efficiency and effectiveness of a government agency or operation, offering recommendations for improvement and potential cost savings. This is achieved by comparing an agency’s performance to benchmarks set by similar operations and peer-group standards. Results of a performance audit can be used to improve the effectiveness of operations, save taxpayer dollars and make better use of existing resources.

“I’m pleased that this common-sense bill finally passed out of the House, because we are just one step closer to a more efficient, transparent and accountable state government,” said Stautberg. “This is a worthwhile effort that will shed light on any outdated or ineffective programs that are bogging down our state government. As elected officials, we have an obligation to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and ensure that we are not squandering tax dollars.”

The legislation, which was originally introduced in March 2009 of the 128th General Assembly, was crafted in concert with former Auditor Mary Taylor and current Auditor Dave Yost. Since the beginning of 2007, the Auditor of State’s office has conducted more than 100 audits on local governments, recommending nearly $169 million in annual cost savings and translating to a potential return on investment of $24 for every dollar spent to conduct an audit.

To fund the audits, the bill establishes the $1.5 million Leverage for Efficiency, Accountability and Performance Fund (L.E.A.P.), through which the auditor will advance costs of a performance audit to state agencies and local governments. Costs will be repaid from next year’s savings, which would in turn be used to fund a new round of performance audits. L.E.A.P. funding will be appropriated from the Auditor of State’s current budget.

House Bill 2 will now move to the Ohio Senate for further debate and deliberation.


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