N.C.’s audit overload

From an editorial Tuesday in the Fayetteville Observer:

The General Assembly has asked six state departments to conduct audits that will provide legislators with more details, potentially saving taxpayers money during the budgeting process.

But Gov. Pat McCrory’s new budget director, Lee Roberts, said the agencies in question were already audited a combined 501 times in the last year, at a cost of more than $17 million.

Lawmakers want to save money and need information to do that. The budget director wants to save money by not repeatedly paying to gather information.

Each side has valid points and should be able to negotiate an arrangement that’s better for taxpayers in every way.

At some point, too many audits become excessive; it appears we’ve passed that point. Fixing this will require communication, but it’s not hard to imagine each department being audited a minimal number of times annually with what’s wanted for budgeting purposes included.

There’s a very good chance that we can reduce the overall number of audits and improve their efficiency at the same time.

We might save taxpayers money on both ends while working miracles for the stress levels of frazzled government staffers.