State Audit Questions Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Community Organizations in Cook County
A state audit released Tuesday morning questions 40% of taxpayer dollars spent on community organizations in Chicago and Cook County. Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are urging the Auditor General to refer findings from the February 2014 audit of the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority's Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) to the Executive Inspector General (EIG) for further review and potentially the U.S. Attorney for further investigation of potential criminal activity.
“The State of Illinois has fleeced the taxpayers, what we have found today is criminal activity,” said Rep. Kay. “When critical care services remain on the chopping block and transportation funding for schools have been cut, the Governor was able to increase limited state resources for the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative from $20 million to $50 million in less than two months.”
In May 2012, State Representative Dwight Kay Chief Co-Sponsored House Resolution 1110 (HR 1110) to audit the state funded program due to concerns as to whether adequate accountability and oversight existed over the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) to ensure tax dollars were spent appropriately. HR 1110 directed the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of State funds provided by or through the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI). In August of 2010, Governor Quinn’s office gave the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority the duties of creating and administering the program. The NRI is a program designed to reduce risk factors associated with violence in 23 communities in Cook County, however according to the state audit, not all the most violent Chicago communities were included in the program.
Since October 2010, over $117 million has been earmarked by Governor Quinn, not the legislature to fund the program in question. In fact, over a two year period 40% of state funds were questioned in the audits findings, in other words, the state does not know where the money went.
Rep. Kay added, “It’s time for the legislature to make sure that every tax dollar spent is passed through the General Assembly for approval. We should not allow the Governor to spend 3% of the state budget at his discretion, except for cases of true public emergency.”