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State of Pennsylvania April 22, 2008 Election
Smart Voter

The Job of Auditor General

By Jack Wagner

Candidate for Auditor General; State of Pennsylvania; Democratic Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Explains what the Auditor General does in general and the highlights of what Jack Wagner has done in his first term in particular
The Auditor General is the independently elected statewide official charged with ensuring that public funds are spent legally and properly and that publicly funded programs are operating efficiently and effectively. The office is commonly called the "watchdog" of state taxpayer dollars.

As Auditor General, Jack manages an independent executive branch department of 725 employees and an annual budget of approximately $54 million. Under his leadership, the department conducts approximately 5,000 financial audits, performance audits, and special investigations each year of various state and local government agencies and programs. The findings and recommendations in those reports relate to improvements in the operations of government and savings to the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

The Auditor General conducts audits of state agencies; state-owned hospitals, schools, universities, veterans' centers, mental retardation centers, youth development centers, correctional institutions, and liquor stores and distribution centers; state-aided hospitals, nursing homes, universities, and colleges; county public assistance offices, children and youth agencies, domestic relations offices, and certain county officials; school districts, intermediate units, area vocational technical schools, and other public school entities; municipal liquid fuels tax accounts; municipal pension plans for police, paid firefighters, and nonuniformed employees; volunteer firefighters' relief associations; magisterial district courts; and many other public and private agencies that receive state and/or federal funds through the State Treasury.

Jack is responsible for conducting, jointly with an independent public accounting firm, an annual audit of the Commonwealth's basic financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This is known as the "GAAP Audit" and is used by the public, bond rating agencies, investors in debt instruments of the state, and others in their assessment of the Commonwealth's financial condition. The department also conducts, jointly with an independent public accounting firm, the "Single Audit," an annual comprehensive audit of federal funds allocated to state programs. In addition, the department conducts audits of corporate tax returns received each year by the state Department of Revenue to make sure that taxpayers are paying no more and no less than they are required to pay.

Jack has several non-audit responsibilities, including: approving, along with the Governor and the State Treasurer, the incurring of state debt; providing administrative services to the state Board of Claims; and distributing millions of dollars of state financial assistance each year to municipal pension plans and volunteer firefighters' relief associations throughout the Commonwealth.

Finally, as Auditor General, Jack is an ex-officio member of the following important state and bi-state agencies:

  • Board of Finance and Revenue
  • Delaware River Port Authority (PA and NJ)
  • Joint Interstate Bridge Commission (PA and NY)
  • Local Government Records Committee
  • Pennsylvania Higher Education Facilities Authority
  • State Public School Building Authority

Jack has been honored to serve for the past three years as your independent fiscal watchdog, and is proud of saving the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by exposing the waste, fraud, and abuse of public funds throughout the Commonwealth. He has also focused on the issues that taxpayers and families are concerned about, such as:

  • The first-ever special performance audit of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency in that agency's 45-year history, which uncovered $7.5 million in bonuses to hundreds of employees over the last three years
  • Auditing and demanding a stronger Megan's Law to protect women and children from sexual predators, which resulted in a major enhancement of Megan's Law by the General Assembly
  • Expanding the scope of school audits to help provide greater security for our children in school
  • Sounding the alarm about the solvency of state and local pension plans
  • Enhancing the quality of restaurant inspections to protect all Pennsylvanians
  • Energy audits + recommending a state law to ensure quality of gasoline purchased and improvements to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • Auditing the Gaming Control Board to make sure that jobs in the new casino industry go to Pennsylvanians
  • Supporting a multitude of veterans issues to help Pennsylvania's 1.2 million military veterans

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pa/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: March 23, 2008 15:03
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