Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway (D) testified about her budget, the growing workload from initiative petitions and about the governor’s pay raise proposal during a House hearing on Monday in Jefferson City.
Galloway told the House Budget Committee her office issued 155 audit reports in 2017.
“Which consists of state agencies, counties, cities, municipal courts, citizen petition-requested audits,” Galloway said. “We currently have 39 audits in progress.”
Galloway said the growing number of initiative petitions being filed has increased her office’s workload, as well as the workload of other offices.
The Columbia Democrat went on to say her office writes fiscal notes for every initiative petition filed with Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s (R) office and her office has already received 350 requests involving initiative petitions submitted for the 2018 cycle.
“For your reference, the previous midterm high was 129,” said Galloway. “Over the entire 2016 election cycle, my office composed a record 223 fiscal notes for ballot initiatives.”
Galloway echoed what Ashcroft, a Republican, said last week: that the numbers are increasing.
Meantime, Galloway asked the House Budget Committee to reject the governor’s proposal to add $95,000 to her budget to increase pay for some of her lowest-paid employees.
Governor Eric Greitens (R) has proposed a $650 pay increase for state workers who earn less than $50,000 a year.
“I am unclear of the details of any civil service reform and how it would apply to (a) separate constitutional entity like the auditor’s office,” Galloway testified.
She said that when she took office in 2015, she implemented a performance evaluation system, similar to the private sector.
Galloway told the committee that 63 of her 109 full-time employees earn less than $50,000.
She emphasizes she supports the idea of increasing pay for state employees.
“I believe that a pay raise for state employees is laudable,” said Galloway. “But I do have concerns about an indiscriminate $50,000 salary cutoff.”
Galloway also testified she’s unclear how the governor’s office came up with the $95,000 amount. She tells the committee that if the 63 employees in her office who meet the earnings criteria received the raise, it would total about $42,000.
The current budget for the Missouri State Auditor’s office is about $8.5 million. Governor Greitens’ proposed budget would increase that to about $8.7 million.