Thursday, July 17, 2008

Initiative 900 Saves Taxpayers Big $$ Dollars

It's no secret that many state and local legislators dislike citizen initiatives and referendums. In fact, it's not hard to find a state or local legislator complaining loudly about "voter interference" and the harm it purportedly does to government's ability to deliver services and create a workable budget. But not all initiatives reek havoc on budgets.

Three years ago, Washington voters passed Initiative 900, an act relating to performance audits of governmental entities; with a 57% majority.Everett Herald writer Jerry Cornfield tells readers, "A study released last week recaps what happened to 27 recommendations made specifically to the Legislature involving transportation, education and health care. Roughly half were adopted or addressed this past session. Some will resurface in the 2009 session."To date, the Washington State Auditor's Office has completed eight performance audits and published 430 recommendations that the legislature could implement to save $240 million for the audited agencies.

It will cost taxpayers $8 million to implement the recommendations. Four of the audits in the report deal with Transportation and the other four audits deal with the Department of Health's Quality Assurance Program and the Port of Seattle's oversight of construction projects. Many more audits of state and local government are scheduled over the next few years. The dollars saved by performance audits will save taxpayers millions of dollars.The state is tasked with the responsibility of preparing a score card each year to allow voters to measure the Legislature's response to performance audit recommendations.To read the full report, go to and click on "Recent JLARC Reports.""Initiative finds lots for state to trim" by Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald: State Auditor's Office Reports can be found here: copy of Initiative 900 can be found here:

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