JACKSON- New legislation allowing the State Auditor’s Office to conduct compliance and performance audits on state-funded economic development bond programs has been signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant.
The new law, which unanimously passed both the House of Representatives and Senate, will take effect on July 1.
House Bill 1318 allows the Auditor to audit programs administered by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) that heretofore have had little or no independent, third party, oversight even though they all utilize taxpayer money. One such previously unaudited program helped fund the failed Beef Processors Plant in Yalobusha County.
“I am grateful to Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, members of the legislature and our other state leaders for their support of this important measure,” State Auditor Stacey Pickering said. “I particularly thank MDA for their cooperation in crafting this measure.
“This is good-government legislation which will allow my office to work with MDA to conduct necessary audits of projects beyond the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act, hence further protecting Mississippi taxpayers.”
Since 2009, several hundred million dollars in incentives have been awarded by MDA that the State Auditor has not had the authority to audit.
Specifics of the legislation:
- Allows risk assessment and long-term cost benefit analysis of economic development programs
- Adds higher risk programs to audits
- Maintains OSA’s high standards of auditing without endangering private sector proprietary and confidential data