[r90] Murphy's Resolution Would Merge State Offices (2/3/2009)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Start Date: 2/3/2009 All Day
End Date: 2/3/2009

Proposal to combine treasurer and auditor passes House

(STATEHOUSE) Feb 3, 2009 - More than local governments might be affected by recent efforts to consolidate.  House Joint Resolution 6, co-authored by state Rep. Mike Murphy (R-Indianapolis), successfully passed the House at third reading today with a bipartisan vote of 69-27.  The resolution is a constitutional amendment seeking to combine the state offices of treasurer and auditor.

The two offices would join to create one state controller who would oversee all duties previously performed by the treasurer and auditor.  The reported estimated cost-savings is about $870 thousand per year.

"With all the talk to reduce the unnecessary layers of local government, it is incumbent on the General Assembly to lead by example," Rep. Murphy said.  "These are two state offices that could be combined to increase government efficiency and reduce cumbersome bureaucracy.

"How can we, with good conscience, vote to advance measures that remove layers of local government if we are not willing to take a look at our own inefficiencies?"

While state Auditor Tim Berry has not issued any public statements on the matter, Rep. Murphy said Berry has expressed support for the idea. The measure wouldn't affect the incumbent treasurer or auditor, due to the minimum length of time it would take to pass a constitutional amendment. 

Constitutional amendments must pass two consecutively elected General Assemblies and then pass a voter referendum, which takes a minimum of three years.

HJR 6 passed the House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform last Tuesday by a 9-3 vote.  With today's vote, the resolution advances to the Senate. 

"This is not a new idea," said Rep. Murphy.  "Similar legislation has come before us many times before.  However, there has never been a better time to act than now.  Consolidation should not be limited to local government, when all levels could be more efficient."