The governor has asked the state’s attorney general and auditor to help investigate alleged mismanagement in the state film office. Late Friday Governor Culver suspended the program that provides state tax credits to filmmakers. Deputy State Auditor Warren Jenkins: “We will certainly talk to them, find out what has been done so far, what we might be able to do to help, how it might be coordinated, and do whatever we can to resolve this effectively to the taxpayers’ benefit.”
Bob Brammer is a spokesman for Iowa’s Attorney General: “The attorney general’s office has accepted the governor’s request today that we review the film office situation and provide any advice or recommendations about legal issues. We’re going to be consulting with the state auditor’s office, the governor’s office and also the Department of Revenue about how to proceed in the matter.”
The Iowa Department of Economic Development oversees the program and D.E.D. managers hired an outside C.P.A. to review the program when questions were raised. That audit found serious irregularities and shoddy paperwork. The state auditor’s office has reviewed the entire D.E.D. budget, but Jenkins says the tax credit program for filmmakers is “new enough” that it hadn’t been subject to an intensive review.
“We don’t look at every transaction, we don’t look at every process every year. That would certainly be too time-consuming and cost-prohibitive,” Jenkins says. “The newness of the program and the relative smallness in its initial years would not have made it subject to an intensive scrutiny.”
The State Auditor’s Office did review another Department of Economic Development program that offered tax credits for job training programs at the state’s community colleges and found lax bookkeeping. (see previous audit report here.)
About 19% of the businesses that got to participate in the job training program did not meet the goal of creating any new jobs.