The state auditor’s office says if more money is going to be coming to the state under the Mack’s Creek law, the state needs to get that money where it’s supposed to go.
That money, which comes from cities that collect too high a percentage of their annual revenue from traffic tickets and fines, is supposed to go back to schools in the same county it came from.
Chief litigation counsel for the state auditor’s office, Darrell Moore, says instead it’s going into funds from which it is disbursed to schools statewide.
“Some of those counties did receive money back but were shortchanged,” Moore told Missourinet. “St. Louis County was seriously shortchanged, to the tune of about $197,000.”
That was in February of this year, alone. In the same month, St. Francois County in eastern Missouri lost about $37,000 and Crawford County in east-central Missouri lost more than $1500.
The auditor’s office thinks the state Office of Administration and the Department of Revenue are using a different interpretation of where that money should go.
“They need to work with the legislature to make sure that everybody’s on the same page,” said Moore. “Of course our argument is the money should have been returned to the counties where the money originated from to be distributed to the school districts in that county. If they disagree with us, we believe they ought to work with the legislature to fix that one section that already exists.”
The legislature has this session been considering changes to the current Mack’s Creek law to further restrict how much money cities can make from traffic tickets and fines, and Moore said the auditor’s office is trying to capitalize on that.
“We’re not trying to chastise anybody,” said Moore. “We’re just saying now that this is coming back to life and money’s actually coming in, it needs to be looked at.”
The law currently says cities shouldn’t make more than 30-percent of their annual revenue from traffic tickets and fines.