OVERVIEW OF INITIATIVE 900
The State Auditor is elected directly by the people of the State of Washington and operates as an executive office that is separate from the Legislature. Both the State Auditor's Office and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee conduct performance audits. Performance audits published by the State Auditor have been prepared independently of the Legislature and the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.
STATE AUDITOR'S OFFICE PERFORMANCE AUDITS
- The voters approved Initiative 900 in the November 2005 general election.
- Initiative 900 authorized the separately elected State Auditor to conduct independent, comprehensive performance audits. The resulting law provides the State Auditor with the authority to audit any state agency, local government, or public education agency/institution.
- The scope of State Auditor's Office performance audits is not limited but must include the following:
- Cost savings
- Identification of services that can be reduced or eliminated
- Identification of services that can be transferred to the private sector
- Gaps or overlaps in programs or services and recommendations to fix these
- Feasibility of pooling information technology systems within a department
- Analysis of roles and functions within a department and recommendations to change or eliminate them
- Recommendations for statutory or regulatory changes to properly carry out departmental functions
- Analysis of department's performance data, performance measures, and self-assessment systems
- Identification of best practice
- The Initiative established the Performance Audits of Government Account, a non-appropriated account solely for the use of the State Auditor to conduct performance audits. The account is funded by a dedicated portion (0.16%) of the existing state sales tax.
- The Initiative requires the Legislature to hold public hearings within 30 days of the State Auditor Office releasing audits of state agencies, to consider audit findings and receive public testimony. Public hearings shall be held by the appropriate legislative bodies for audits of non-state agencies (such as city councils or school boards).
- The Initiative states that the Legislature must consider the state auditor reports in connection with the legislative appropriations process.
- The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee is required to report on the implementation of any State Auditor recommendations for legislative action.