Is there an art to losing track of the taxpayers’ money: just ask the Texas Arts Commission.

Texas Watchdog’s Mark Lisheron reminds us that the agency “was criticized for a longstanding inability to keep track of its funding” in a report by the state auditor.

In the State of the State address last week, Gov. Rick Perry specifically called out the Arts Commission as one that shouldn’t be funded during tight fiscal times — calling it “non-mission-critical.”

The auditor didn’t say the money was misappropriated, only that sloppy record keeping kept auditors from being able to account for money in the “Cultural Endowment Fund” between 1993 and 2009.

Not keeping close tabs on the taxpayers’ money seems to be something of a recurring problem in government. It wasn’t long ago that the Texas Department of Transportation confessed to having mis-accounted for $1 billion. Think local governments do better? The Metroplex’s DART mass transit system had it’s own billion-dollar misplacement a couple years ago.

Texas Watchdog reports that in recent years “state auditors have also frowned on the boards of Professional Geoscientists and Professional Land Surveying.”

These things remind me why I love zero-based budgeting; makes it a little easier to stop this kind of ongoing laziness and mismanagement. Check out bills by Rep. Charles Perry (HB 187) and Sen. Florence Shapiro (SB 165).

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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