Tag Archives: Susan Montee

Susan Montee: Legislative fiscal projections fail

From State Auditor Susan Montee’s audit of Missouri’s tax credit system:

Tax credit redemptions in the state of Missouri have increased from about $372 million in fiscal year 2001 to over $584 million in fiscal year 2009, an increase of 57 percent in 8 years, while net General Revenue (GR) Fund – State collections over the same time period increased from about $6.44 billion to $7.45 billion, an increase of 15.7 percent. Tax credit redemptions as a percentage of net GR Fund collections increased from 5.8 percent in 2001 to 7.8 percent in 2009.

Fiscal notes associated with legislation establishing or modifying tax credit programs do not accurately project the financial impact on the state’s GR Fund collections. For 15 tax credit programs reviewed, the actual redemptions exceeded the projected long term fiscal impact by a net amount of over $1.1 billion for the 5 years ended June 30, 2009. In total, 96 fiscal note sections were associated with the 15 programs we reviewed, and 16 sections indicated the amount of impact was unknown. Since fiscal notes have not accurately projected the financial impact of tax credit programs, the General Assembly should consider increasing the use of alternative cost containment measures to better control the costs of tax credit programs.

Here is the Columbia Tribune with more.

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Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee on civil asset forfeiture

I sat down with Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee last night and talked to her about her 2009 report on civil asset forfeitures in the state of Missouri. I’ll have more to blog about soon, but wanted to highlight a couple things I learned.

The reports she received from prosecutors around the state detailing the extent of civil forfeiture activities were a ‘mess’. Often the records are misplaced or lost or ineptly kept, making her job compiling the the information necessary for a report difficult. There also appears to be little or no oversight of ‘adoptive’ or ‘equitable’ forfeiture, a mechanism that state and local police in Missouri have used in the past to dodge state requirement that proceeds from forfeited assets be turned over to the general fund. The current law requires judicial approval when assets are transferred between state and federal authorities in equitable forfeiture and I think is limited to assets seized with help from the federal government, but I am unable to find evidence that this law is being properly followed or enforced. Indeed, the large amounts of money moved around in this way by Boone County, Laclede County, Butler County, and New Madrid suggest to me that police agencies around the state continue to use adoptive forfeiture to retain control of the proceeds from seized assets for their own purposes.

Missouri law also mandates that civil forfeiture also be accompanied by ‘criminal action’ to prevent innocent people from having their property seized. Unfortunately I don’t know if the descriptor of ‘criminal action’ is equivalent to a conviction; it is still possible to seize and keep property and file charges that are dropped while satisfying the requirement for ‘criminal action’. Of course, this is problematic.

I’ll have more soon; I’ll be meeting Montee again next week to cover the subject in more detail.

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Weekend Plans

This weekend I’ll be heading to the Young Democrats of Missouri state convention in Springfield, Missouri. At this point, I have scheduled interviews with Rep. Stephen Webber (D-23), MO State Auditor Susan Montee, MO State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, MO Attorney General Chris Koster, Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Craig Hosmer. That list will probably grow during the weekend, but hopefully I’ll get some content that I’ll be able to format in posts both here and over at the Boone County Democrats. There might even be some video (a friend has generously donated his Flip HD camera).

I did particularly want to note that my interview with Susan Montee will include some questions to flesh out her latest audit on civil asset forfeitures performed in the state during 2009.

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