TPA and The Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy Release Report on Wasteful Spending

Michi Iljazi

January 30, 2016

Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy and Taxpayers Protection Alliance Release Report on Wasteful State Spending, Misuse of Taxpayer Funds

Charleston, W. Va. – Thursday, the Cardinal Institute for West Virginia Policy and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance released a new report entitled: Wild and Wasteful West Virginia: Exposing Waste, Fraud and Abuse of Your State Tax Dollars. The report (click here to read) exposes and highlights more than $330 million in wasteful spending spread across almost 60 different state programs. The examples cited in the report demonstrate that West Virginia has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. State lawmakers, who must now confront a $353 million budget shortfall, should look to cut wasteful expenditures instead of burdening the state’s already financially beleaguered residents with fees and tax increases. Examples of questionable spending:

  • $100 million a year in wasteful Medicaid spending from improperly awarded contracts.
  • $1.8 million directed toward mortuary service on the basis of preferential treatment. Audit shows vendors overpaid by more than $72,000.
  • $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars to West Virginia Commission on the Arts, including $15,000 to the Old Brick Playhouse Company in Elkins for a school tour of “Textitude – An Adventure in Positive Thinking.”
  • $460,000 for the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences in Charleston.

Some examples of potential reforms to generate taxpayers savings:

  • Invoke the Gipper! West Virginia should establish its own version of the Grace Commission modeled after President Reagan’s Grace Commission to analyze government spending and provide cost savings recommendations.
  • State lawmakers should set up a one-time external statewide audit by a reputable, outside accounting firm. This would ensure sounder, tighter practices going forward.
  • State lawmakers should also establish an independent state inspector general’s office assigned to coordinate investigations, waste and fraud across state agencies.
  • Amend the West Virginia Constitution to provide the attorney general to prosecute egregious examples of fraud and abuse of power.

“At this point in West Virginia’s history, our lawmakers are faced with tough choices.  This report isn’t designed to simply pick on people or their pet projects but to shed light on the matter at hand – do we continue to fund programs like the ones mentioned in the report and raise taxes on West Virginians” asks Cardinal Institute Executive Director, Garrett Ballengee. “Or, do we cut some of the fluff and put our taxpayers first?”

“This report is just the starting point to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in West Virginia” said TPA President David Williams. “The next step is for all these recommendations to be implemented and for all tax increases to be stopped immediately.”

Click here to read Wild Wasteful West Virginia. The Cardinal Institute, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, is the state’s leading free-enterprise research and advocacy organization.