from the inbox:
State Rep. Josh Shapiro, D-Montgomery, chairman of the Legislative Audit Advisory Commission (LAAC), today released the independent financial audit of the General Assembly for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. LAAC earlier voted unanimously to approve the audit report and recommendations to tighten financial controls within the legislature.
The General Assembly audit, completed by independent auditors from Ernst & Young, found that the legislature dispersed $317,979,344 on operations in 2009-10, a 2.76 percent decrease from the previous year. The legislature ended the fiscal year with a $188,554,281 legislative surplus, a 6.4 percent decrease from the previous year.
Under Shapiro’s leadership over the past three years, LAAC has made significant progress on fiscal transparency and accountability through a detailed accounting of legislative expenses and an accurate calculation of the legislative surplus. Major reform recommendations, including the elimination of 46 of the 68 checkbooks used by the House leaders and chairs, were implemented. Recommendations in this year’s audit include:
· Adopting a policy to reduce or eliminate the reserves;
· Consolidating the remaining committee and leadership checkbooks into one controlled by the House Comptroller’s office; and
· Developing and enhancing the financial statement close process, including the implementation of a centralized financial information and controls system for the General Assembly.
"I am pleased that LAAC has unanimously approved the audit and recommendations as set forth in this report,” said Shapiro. “Over the past three years we have taken important steps to improve transparency in our legislative budget and reduce spending. It is critical that the public knows exactly what happens with their tax dollars and the improved transparency forces greater accountability in legislative spending."
“I want to thank the members of LAAC for their hard work and dedication to reform, especially the vice-chair, Representative Gordon Denlinger, and Senator Pat Browne,” said Shapiro.
LAAC was created in 1970 for the purpose of overseeing, reviewing and reporting on audits performed on the financial affairs of the General Assembly and making recommendations for improvements. LAAC appoints a certified public accountant to audit the financial affairs of the General Assembly and its legislative service agencies. At least one audit is performed each year. Shapiro was appointed to chair LAAC in October 2007.
The audit documents can be viewed online at www.pahouse.com/Shapiro.