The Republican state auditor says legislators of both parties have released state budget targets that are “impossible to evaluate” and that include proposals that cannot be accomplished.
State Auditor Dave Vaudt says the budget outlines from Republicans and Democrats in the legislature represent “checking account” spending and don’t indicate what may be spend on the state’s “charge cards”. As for specifics, Vaudt says $43 million in savings his fellow Republicans claim is suspect because legislators cannot require state employees to pay $200 per month for their health insurance, as that would violate the union contract.
“Plus the legislature cannot require contract renegotiation,” Vaudt says. “…The Republican targets also include a $20 million reduction through government efficiencies, but there are no specifics. Without specifics, it’s impossible to evaluate whether this spending reduction can actually be accomplished.”
Vaudt also faults Democrats for trying to shift more spending off-budget, using cigarette taxes that’re placed in a special state Health Care Trust Fund to cover $220 million worth of Medicaid costs. Vaudt says such shifts “distort reality.”
“What I’m trying to do is just point out where are the bad things that we’re doing and where are the good things that we’re doing and how do we build on the good and get away from the bad and be transparent and open about what it is,” Vaudt says, “not just giving people information but giving them meaningful information that can actually be used to evaluate the proposals.”
Vaudt made his comments this morning during a news conference in his office.
AUDIO of news conference, runs 15 min.