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August 6, 2014

All talk, no savings

Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon is looking back to 1956, five years before her birth, to set state fiscal policy in 2014.

As Democratic candidate for comptroller, Simon opposes consolidating that office with the treasurer's office despite the $12 million annual savings it could bring. She and other opponents point to Orville Hodge, the state auditor who in 1956 pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million, as the reason for needing to keep the separate offices. Never mind that the comptroller's office wasn't finally created until 14 years later, or the fact that computerized accounting has made it easier to spot missing money.

Simon said there are other ways to save money. By all means, please do -- but in addition to this $12 million annual savings, not instead of it.

The trouble is, nothing is being saved. Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who is running for re-election, says she supports consolidating the offices. It was a key part of her and Treasurer Dan Rutherford's campaign platforms four years ago.

But once elected, they have barely mentioned that change. Not that the Democratic-controlled legislature would have allowed it anyway, but candidates who are sincere about change keep their issues front and center all the time, and not just during campaign season.

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