MARTINSBURG, W.Va - Legislators in the Eastern Panhandle today announced plans to introduce a bill that would require all state agencies in West Virginia to undergo regular audits.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey was joined by Delegate Paul Espinosa, the lead sponsor of the proposed legislation, and co-sponsors from the Eastern Panhandle delegation. They say the legislation would provide greater transparency and accountability in state government, and build trust.
“Citizens should know that taxpayer-funded state departments and offices, as well as the Legislature and Board of Public Works, are undergoing regular reviews to ensure that any fraud, waste, or abuse is stamped out,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This legislation will provide greater transparency and accountability in state government. If more oversight had been in place, we likely would not have seen the type of financial mismanagement that arose in the Department of Agriculture audit.”
“This should not be a Democrat versus Republican issue,” Delegate Espinosa said. “I believe every lawmaker should be in favor of ensuring state agencies and offices are doing their job, following the law and spending taxpayer money wisely.”
“I understand that a request of this magnitude will place a heavy burden on the Legislative Auditor’s Office and staff, which is why I think it is important for them to know that they can reach out to others for help,” Espinosa said. “However, I don’t think we should avoid doing audits just because of staffing or manpower concerns. Citizens must feel as though they can trust their government to act wisely and prudently, and regular reviews and audits of agencies are a key way to build that trust.”
Espinosa plans to introduce the bill in the House of Delegates within the next few days. Other sponsors likely will include Delegates Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan; Michael Folk, Eric Householder and John Overington, all R-Berkeley. Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, has expressed a willingness to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
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