State Treasurer Riley Moore today said his office is proposing legislative measures that would increase oversight, transparency and accountability over taxpayer funds used by the state Economic Development Authority.
The announcement follows Tuesday’s release of a legislative audit which found the development authority took a $24 million loss on a taxpayer-funded venture capital program created in 2002 and failed to maintain adequate accounting documentation.
“As your new Treasurer, I am not going to sit idly by while unelected bureaucrats squander taxpayer money with impunity,” Treasurer Moore said. “As the state’s chief financial officer, I have a fiduciary duty to ensure taxpayer funds are spent wisely with absolute transparency and accountability – and I will do everything within my power to make sure this never happens again.”
Even before the audit was released, Treasurer Moore was working with legislative leaders on proposals to strengthen his office’s oversight powers.
“Government has to stop being reactive to these kinds of situations. The people of our state deserve better,” Treasurer Moore said. “That’s why my office is being proactive to prevent situations like this from ever happening again.”
The EDA frequently uses money provided through the state’s Board of Treasury Investments – which manages the consolidated short-term operating fund used by state and local governments – to provide loans and loan insurance for economic development purposes.
Treasurer Moore is working with legislators to put stronger safeguards in place to avoid any future problems with these funds, as well as correct some of the issues identified in the legislative audit.
That includes giving the Board of Treasury Investments the power to inspect all Economic Development Authority financial and administrative records related to outstanding loan and loan insurance programs that use funds from the investments board.
Additionally, the legislation proposed by the Treasurer would require the Economic Development Authority to submit quarterly reports to the Board of Treasury Investments, Governor and the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Government and Finance, as well as submit to regular audits by the Legislative Auditor.
“This is my pledge to West Virginia taxpayers: We are going to be vigilant stewards of your money,” Treasurer Moore said. “The days of squandering your tax dollars on shady deals and reckless investments are over. We’re going to make sure these agencies operate with complete transparency and accountability to protect your money from waste, fraud and abuse.”