I wanted to update you on a story that came out this past week about ongoing issues at the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). KSTP reported earlier this month about an audit released July 11th that was critical of DHS, and cited the agency for "significant, ongoing noncompliance" with federal law.
Disappointingly, this is the fifth consecutive audit of DHS that has cited these specific issues. DHS manages billions of taxpayer dollars each year, and handles about $1.4 billion in welfare and childcare assistance. Those who receive these government benefits are required by law to be verified for income and other eligibility requirements. If these verifications are not going on, there exists the potential for millions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse.
Last week, the Republican leads on the Health and Human Services Committee sent a letter to Governor Dayton demanding that he take action to correct these mistakes. Having had years to correct these issues, it's unacceptable that taxpayer dollars continue to be spent without any sort of accountability or verification to ensure that no fraud or abuse is going on. The agency assured us that the problems would be resolved by 2015. I find these promises to be empty at best, given their previous promises to correct the issues cited in the previous 4 audits.
This is yet another example of taxpayers deserving better from their government. We shouldn't be raising $2 billion dollars in new taxes before making sure that every taxpayer dollar is being spent effectively, and ensuring that we weed out the waste, fraud, and abuse for every government program.
I will be sure to keep you informed about this important issue. It's among my top priorities to ensure that government remains accountable to those that foot the bill. You, the hardworking taxpayers of this state, deserve nothing less.
Rep. Jerry Hertaus