By Associated Press • 

Oregon Legislature orders review of Department of Revenue

SALEM — The Oregon Legislature is ordering a top-to-bottom review of the state's tax collecting agency.

Lawmakers on the Joint General Government Subcommittee ordered the Department of Revenue to undergo a $150,000 comprehensive financial audit and a $350,000 management assessment, The Statesman Journal reported Wednesday.

Rep. David Gomberg, D-Central Coast, said lawmakers upped scrutiny of the department this session after the leadership made its regular budget presentations.

“They came in and it was clear there were issues,” he said.

Throughout the next two years, the agency must make frequent, mandatory reports to lawmakers during the interim and regular sessions of the Legislature.

The orders for agency examination and reporting are so heavy that Rep. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, wondered if the agency would still have time to do its job collecting about $8 billion a year in taxes.

“We're going to have people looking over their shoulder continuously,” Johnson said.

Repeated financial audits had uncovered “significant” and “material weakness” in the agency's accounting system, which the agency defended by saying its accountants lacked training and experience. Performance measures in areas of agency helpfulness, timeliness, accuracy and expertise plummeted during the past four years.

A status report on the management assessment is due during the 2018 legislative session and the full report must be completed no later than December 2019, according to recently adopted budget notes.

Gomberg said department Director Nia Ray has been “reoriented” by the scrutiny her department faces. He said she now has a clear sense of what the Legislature is looking for.

Comments

Rotwang

So did they declare an emergency again?

Don Dix

Questions -- Why did it take a legislative order for the director of the Department of Revenue to have 'a clear sense' of operating the department? How does one get to that position without having that knowledge previously?

This brings up another question -- how many others are running a state department with little or no knowledge of the mission?

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