State lawmakers will debate the budget for the next fiscal year later this week in the House of Representatives. But the budget as currently proposed has a major omission.

That's the topic of this week's Commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.

Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst

By law, the Louisiana House of Representatives begins the budget process. This year, that process is off to a shaky start.

As passed by the Appropriations Committee, next year's budget contains no money for the Office of State Inspector General. That's the office that investigates fraud, waste, corruption and mismanagement. For some reason, the Appropriations Committee thinks we don't need anybody looking into those things.

With a straight face, the committee decided that the state inspector general is 'redundant,' because other offices allegedly do the same thing. They offered as examples the State Police, the Attorney General's office and the Legislative Auditor.

They're wrong.

None of those offices does exactly what the inspector general does. For starters, those offices typically act at the request of elected officials, whereas the inspector general typically receives complains from ordinary citizens and whistleblowers.

Last fiscal year, the IG's office cost $1.7 million but it saved taxpayers more than $3 million by exposing waste and corruption. Some of the people it investigated are in jail.

Maybe that's the real reason why some folks want the inspector general to go away.


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