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Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Guest Column from Representative Peter Beck
Tackling Fraud and Waste in State Government
In Ohio’s present fiscal crunch, it is vital that state government be efficient, transparent and accountable. Taxpayers cannot afford to fund corrupt or wasteful public practices. As an anti-money laundering professional and a certified auditor, I understand how important it is to ensure that our government is spending money in an appropriate manner. With families all over Ohio struggling to make ends meet, it is paramount that we see a return on each tax dollar spent.
To address problems with waste and fraud in state government, the Ohio House of Representatives is actively introducing and voting on legislation to streamline our state’s financial operations. House Bill 66 will curb fraudulent fiscal practices in public offices by creating a fraud abuse reporting system. Through this system, public employees and residents will be able to anonymously report misuse of public funds. In addition, H.B. 66 will extend the whistle-blower protections, guarding against retaliatory layoffs, to state employees who issue a complaint using this new system.
Fraud reporting programs have proven to be successful, and Ohio could benefit immensely from the gains achieved from similar systems. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 50 percent of government fraud is uncovered through tips. Employees and residents will feel more at ease reporting fraud anonymously and therefore are more likely to come forward with instances of such violations. With H.B. 66, I am confident that we can eliminate a significant amount of misuse of tax dollars that currently goes undetected.
House Bill 2 is another piece of legislation that promotes government accountability. Recently signed into law by Governor Kasich, this bill requires the auditor of state to assess certain state agencies with biennial performance audits. H.B. 2 will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations, while ensuring tax dollars are spent productively. This legislation will help to ameliorate the financial strain caused by Ohio’s spending problems. All Ohioans can benefit from a better organized, fiscally conscious state government.
As your state representative in the 67th House District, I am concerned with how state spending practices affect you and your family. I will continue to support fiscally responsible legislation that offers solutions to Ohio’s wasteful spending habits. House Bills 2 and 66 will go a long way toward lessening waste and fraud in public offices and agencies.
During this General Assembly, we can make great strides in the effort to create a more transparent and effective state government. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me with any concerns you may have about our state spending practices. Together, we can increase government accountability and craft a more effective state government.