Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway says newly signed legislation will increase transparency in governments across Missouri. Senate Bill 112 assesses a penalty on local governments that fail to disclose required financial information. The bill passed after Auditor Galloway released a series of reports showing nearly half of Missouri's local governments were holding back information on how taxpayer dollars are being managed, in violation of the law.
"Public bodies that use taxpayer dollars must be accountable to the citizens they serve," Auditor Galloway said. "My reports have identified dismal compliance rates by local governments who fail to provide even basic information about their management of your tax dollars."
The law goes into effect on August 28 and adds a penalty of $500 per day to any local government that fails to turn in required financial information to the State Auditor's Office. Penalties will be collected by the Department of Revenue and distributed among schools in that area.
The legislation also streamlines county filings by allowing counties to submit required budget documents to the State Auditor electronically instead of through certified mail.
"When government relies on outdated processes it’s citizens who pay the price through increased expenses and lost efficiency of public services," Auditor Galloway said. "Just as with the private sector, government must identify areas where unnecessary and burdensome requirements can be eliminated."
Auditor Galloway worked with Representatives Donna Pfautsch and Joe Don McGaugh on the legislation, which was signed into law July 11.
Since taking office Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has worked to increase transparency and accountability for Missouri taxpayers using her office's current authority and through new initiatives, including earlier Transportation Development District accountability legislation. In 2016 she also launched the online Show-Me Local Government Map to promote transparency in government finances and operations. Earlier this year Auditor Galloway released a statewide Transportation Development District audit, which identified concerns with taxing district operations. Other audits examining taxing districts throughout the state are ongoing.