Chapman launches campaign to stop government waste

Shelby County’s own State Auditor Beth Chapman is asking Alabama residents to get involved in the accountability process.

Chapman said it was clear by the resounding negative vote on Gov. Bob Riley’s tax plan that Alabamians want more accountability in their state government.

To that end, she said, &uot;I am asking Alabama citizens to get involved in stopping government waste.&uot;

Chapman said she was reinstating the use of a toll-free number to report waste.

She also said she was implementing a statewide email blitz and beginning a series of public service announcements to encourage and promote citizen involvement.

&uot;Not to worry,&uot; she said, &uot;the public service announcments are being produced, the website created and the emails sent at no expense to the taxpayers of the state.&uot;

In fact, at the bottom of the Campaign for Accountability public service announcement is a disclaimer stating &uot;This ad is not paid for by state tax dollars.&uot;

&uot;The Campaign for Accountability is about protecting every single dime that taxpayers send to Montgomery,&uot; Chapman said.

&uot;I have a simple philosophy that I follow in my home that my parents taught me long ago: we don’t spend what we don’t have; we don’t buy what we don’t need; and we take care of what we own.

&uot;That should be true in state government, too,&uot; she said.

Chapman said that reports regarding state waste are called into her office all the time.

Not all of them fall within her jurisdiction, she said, however, &uot;Each one is taken seriously, responded to in a timely fashion and referred to the proper agency.&uot;

She said she and her staff are working to &uot;get a handle on the waste; but there are state employees and taypayers who see it firsthand every day.&uot;

The Campaign for Accountability invites them to report it.

&uot;It’s not about increasing or decreasing your tax dollars,&uot; the ad states. &uot;It’s about protecting them.&uot;

Chapman acknowledged that her office does not have prosecuting power; however, she has pledged to report that abuse to those who do.

&uot;The people want accountability now more than ever,&uot; she said, &uot;and that’s what my staff and I are prepared to give them.&uot;

Chapman said even her office is not immune from waste.

The toll-free number which will be used by the campaign has been in service for more than a decade.

&uot;But the public is not even aware of it, so it has not been used. That alone is one of many examples of government waste,&uot; she said.

&uot;It ranks right up there with the state car tht sat in a parking deck unused, driven only once in two years to buy a battery for it because it was dying. Imagine that. It has since been sold and the funds put back into the budget,&uot; Chapman said.

Alabama residents who wish to report specific government waste of any nature are asked to call 1-800-448-9278 or visit the website at www.stopwaste.net