Waste, fraud, and abuse are pervasive among local governments, particularly those in large urban areas. This fiscal mismanagement is exacerbating Texas’ property tax crisis, fostering a culture of big government, and dampening economic growth.
Large cities and counties should be required to undergo third-party efficiency audits of their budgets and operations to identify opportunities to reduce expenditures and redirect resources. A comprehensive audit will provide local leaders with the information and ideas necessary to ensure that government is operating at peak efficiency and effectiveness.
Faithful implementation of the auditor’s recommendations will generate recurring savings, bolster public confidence, and improve accountability. However, even if none of the recommendations are put into practice, a fully disclosed final report will still arm Texans with the information needed to hold their elected officials accountable and inform discussions on making government run better.
According to two former Austin city council members: “Efficiency audits are a national best practice. Governmental entities including Travis County, City of Seattle, the states of Rhode Island and Wyoming, among others, have utilized audits to great success. Audits have saved other government entities a minimum 4 percent of their annual budget.” Another prominent practitioner has noted that the amount of savings identified through an efficiency audit is consistently at least 10 times the cost.
- Require certain types of local governments to submit to a third-party independent audit of their budget and operations to identify waste, fraud, and abuse.