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Pickering praises passage of new auditing legislation



JACKSON — Legislation allowing the State Auditor’s Office to conduct compliance and performance audits on state-funded economic development bond programs has unanimously passed both the House of Representatives and Senate.

It is now on its way to Gov. Phil Bryant, who has supported the need for such legislation since his service as state auditor, according to the Office of State Auditor.

House Bill 1318 allows the auditor to audit programs administered by the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) that heretofore have had little or no independent, third-party, oversight even though they all utilize taxpayer money. One such previously unaudited program helped fund the failed Beef Processors Plant in Yalobusha County.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering said, “This is good-government legislation, which will allow my office to work with MDA to conduct necessary audits of projects beyond the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act, hence further protecting Mississippi taxpayers.”

Since 2009, several hundred million dollars in incentives have been awarded by MDA that the state auditor has not had the authority to audit.

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