Missouri lawmakers are rightly looking for a committee to oversee roughly $ 5.4 billion in federal spending to fight COVID-19.
Missouri News Networks recently reported that funds under the American Rescue Plan of 2021 had been allocated to Missouri counties.
It reported that the main role of the Committee on Local Accountability and Transparency would be to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of federal incentive spending allocated directly to political subdivisions in the state.
It would consist of five members: one from the House, one from the Senate, the Chartered Accountant, the State Treasurer, and the State Treasurer.
The committee would review contracts / expenses related to local government spending on federal funds. Local governments would use a submission form to provide the information.
Deputy Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis questioned the need for the commission as such oversight is already within the remit of the State Auditor’s Office.
However, we would argue that the sheer amount of money justifies the additional level of supervision.
The aid package, approved by Congress in March, would distribute $ 1.9 trillion nationwide to counter the economic impact of COVID-19 in the United States, the Missouri News Network reported. Missouri is expected to receive more than $ 5.4 billion, including $ 1.19 billion for counties and nearly $ 2.9 billion for state tax breaks.
Some lawmakers also expressed concern that the committee would not be bipartisan and include more Republicans than Democrats.
But the work of the committee would not exclude the Auditor’s Office from its own investigation into the expense, and the state auditor is a Democrat.
Our federal government has spent an unprecedented amount of money on the pandemic. It only makes sense to seek accountability for these expenses.