ICYMI: Montana Newspapers Blast Bullock Admin for Mismanaging Tax Dollars
The Billings Gazette and Montana Standard Editorial Boards blasted the Bullock administration for mismanaging our hard-earned tax dollars. Auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, which led to the first adverse report ever issued on the state’s finances.
Bullock Administration Mismanaged Tax Dollars:
- Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
- Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.
- Incorrectly accounted for hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses.
- Failed to report $62 million in bonds.
- Missed transfers of nearly $48 million.
Billings Gazette: Gazette opinion: Take responsibility for terrible state budget
“The State of Montana’s finances aren’t as rosy as we once imagined, and the same people who may have contributed to the mess may be the ones ultimately charged with cleaning it up.”
“This wasn’t just a single accidental oversight. Instead, the problems are deep — 125 errors and lack of internal controls. Sadly, those controls, had they been in place, according to the audit division, could have caught these problems earlier. In other words, there weren’t even controls in place to catch problems.”
“For his part, Gov. Steve Bullock called it “completely unacceptable.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a little deeper digging on how the problems happened? Granted, that is hard when folks like Villa are a part of the governor’s own administration. A deeper investigation might be politically uncomfortable.“
“The question remains: How members of his staff are being held responsible for such shoddy results?”
“The buck should stop at Bullock. Then again, with our accounting practices, how would we know where the buck stops or even if it’s there?”
Montana Standard: Audit of state administration disturbing, unacceptable
“The audit conducted by Hunthausen’s staff revealed some 125 errors in accounting for the state government’s finances. And while state budget director Dan Villa characterized some of the errors as simple clerical issues, the overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”
“Villa told the Associated Press, “It’s not misappropriating funds or hiding money.” We would respectfully point out that, given the nature of the errors in oversight, it is all but impossible to know if Villa is correct in that assertion.”
“Bottom line: The state’s finances are being accounted for in an unbelievably slipshod manner. Montanans have a right to expect better. And for Hogan and Villa, inescapably the buck stops with them.”
“The status quo is unacceptable, and Gov. Bullock must act decisively to clean this mess up.”