The Indiana Department of Revenue (DOR) announced today that $206 million in state revenue had been mistakenly withheld from Indiana counties, dating back to 2011. The department claimed the hundreds of millions of dollars in oversight was the result of a “programming error” and that immediate action will be taken to repay counties with interest. DOR Commissioner John Eckart also announced he plans to resign from his position and said that an independent audit will be necessary. This most recent “programming error” combined with the discovery of $320 million in misplaced funds in December pushed the total amount of state revenue mishandled by the administration to over half a billion dollars.
Democrat leadership reacts
Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Vi Simpson and House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer released a joint statement this morning expressing their frustration and disappointment over the avoidable $206 million mishap.
Senator John Broden echoed Leader Bauer and Sen. Simpson’s comments, noting that local governments had to make difficult budgetary decisions and as a result of the misinformation, may have made unneeded cuts to public safety.
SEN. BRODEN: “Several months ago, I along with others called for an independent and bi-partisan audit…”
State’s first mishandling of revenue
The Indiana Senate and House Democrats jointly called for an independent investigation four months prior to today’s incident after the administration announced it had “discovered” $320 million in state revenue that was unaccounted for.
At that time, Sen. Broden believed the only way to guarantee that the mishandled $320 million was in fact a onetime occurrence was to initiate an outside audit. Broden and members of both the House and Senate Democrats’ budgetary committees wrote to State Budget Committee chairmen Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) and Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) requesting they approve an independent audit.
The independent audit was rejected and the responsibility for a review of the state’s finances fell to the State Board of Accounts, the agency under which the original $320 million error had occurred.