MONTGOMERY, AL - State Treasurer and Republican gubernatorial candidate Kay Ivey stood outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery Monday morning where she asked a question: "People fear an audit by the government; shouldn't the government fear an audit by the people?"
Ivey answered that question by unveiling plans for what she's calling, "The People's Audit", a thorough examination of "every nook and cranny of state government". Ivey says the move could save Alabama Taxpayers at least $150 million dollars and possibly even as much as half a billion dollars.
Ivey says her plan is simple. Upon taking office, she would demand that all members of her cabinet, along with department and agency heads, submit a thorough internal audit of all areas under their authority. Once it is assembled, teams of independent auditors will go over the information, looking for opportunities to save taxpayer dollars. They will look for outdated and duplicated services, opportunities for modernization and consolidation, among other things.
Ivey explained Alabama's looming financial crisis makes it imperative that "The People's Audit" uncover as many areas to save as many tax dollars as possible. "Top-to-Bottom, line by line, every single expenditure in the general fund will be examined with a fine-tooth comb. When the work of my administration and internal auditors is finished, taxpayers will know exactly how every last nickel of state government money is being spent."
"The effectiveness of the ‘The People's Audit' will not stop there," said Ivey. "When completed, my administration will be able to identify costs and services that are duplicated across multiple departments, and others that should have been phased out with poodle skirts and the Edsel. Services needing modernization and consolidation will be brought up to the best business practices of the 21st century. The antiquated and wasteful will simply be done away with."
Ivey says she's very experienced at eliminating waste in state government and saving tax dollars. As State Treasurer, she instituted a series of steps that drastically reduced administrative overhead. "I looked at standard "best business practices" to improve the efficiency of the Treasurer's office. I also depended on good, old-fashioned experience to guide me. For instance, the Treasurer's office owned a fleet of six state vehicles my first day on the job. I got rid of four of them. Now we only have two – and one of them is a 1996 Ford Taurus with more than 137,000 miles on it. We even made the back seat removable so we can carry boxes in that space."
She says she also resisted the urge to automatically replace employees in her office when retirements and resignations occurred. The number of employees working in the state treasurer's office has fallen a total of 21% during Ivey's seven years there --- during a time when the State Personnel Department, the total number of state employees has increased by approximately 3.2%. And she introduced modern technologies and the cross-training of staff to allow attrition to take a natural course. Employees are more efficient, productivity levels have risen, and fewer staff members are needed. Just because a job slot is open in my department does not mean that it necessarily has to be filled.
"When you add all my modest efforts over the last seven years, I have delivered real cost savings of about $5-million --- in addition to budget cuts mandated by proration," Ivey said.
"Ultimately, ‘The People's Audit' is about much more than saving dollars. Government can be powerful, intimidating, and intrusive. Government should not be that --- it should be responsive and timely to the needs of its citizens, and accountable for its actions. I believe that when you run as a conservative, you must also govern as a conservative. I am the only candidate who has a record of saving taxpayers real money, of downsizing bureaucracy, maintaining productivity and saving even more of our tax dollars as Governor. Let's downsize and not raise taxes!"
INFORMATION SOURCE: Kay Ivey's office