Are We Blasé About “Misusing” Public Funds

Thanks to the Miami Herald yet another misuse (misappropriation) of public funds has been reported for the City of Miami.  The so-called “misuse” (this reminds me of the term “misspoke”) of public funds is in fact institutionalized corruption that has been going on for years in this example.  It is not hard to guess that this sort of “informality” in the use of public funds is a county-wide problem.

One may also wonder whether these problems would ever have been discovered without the oversight of federal authorities.  Apparently, Miami-Dade citizens tolerate the misappropriation of public funds as a normal  part of the everyday business of government and of doing business with the government.

In a stinging report, Auditor Victor Igwe, backed by an opinion from the state attorney general, said the city tapped into even more restricted money — this time, $9.47 million in gas taxes — to fill gaping budget holes.

…the city shifted the money to the general fund to balance its plummeting checkbook, an improper practice that has been used in the past to mask deeper financial woes. The money went to operate street lights.

The city is already under federal investigation for the questionable transfers of millions in Impact Fees and other restricted funds, but this is the first time the use of gas taxes was found by auditors.

…the practice of tapping into the Local Option Gas Tax has been going on for nearly a decade.

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/08/16/1779039/auditor-mimai-misusing-millions.html#ixzz0wt1KhbIR

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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