Justin Hauke

The Missouri Green Party announced that it has received enough signatures to trigger an audit of the St. Louis city government, in order to investigate lead paint removal budgeting. They question whether neighborhoods with the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning receive the most money to remove lead paint from their homes.

To me, that sounds like great issue to investigate. I'd like to know whether the money is being allocated equitably, and whether there is any "skimming" off the top from local legislators.

But this noble audit is not as rosy as it might first appear.

Apparently, the petition only requires a "general" audit of the city rather than a focus on lead paint removal specifically. And since the city claims that the audit will cost more than $1 million, and take nearly a year to complete, this could prove to be a pretty costly venture that doesn't even address the problem.

Now, I don't know who to blame more for this waste of money — the Missouri Green Party (who knew that the audit wouldn't address the issue they were concerned with, but went ahead anyway), or the St. Louis City government (which clearly could have targeted the audit to the issue at hand if they wanted to). Either way, this is $1 million of taxpayer money down the drain.

I guess you might say that it's a waste of "green."

P.S.: Missouri law allows citizens to request an audit of their local government if petitioners receive signatures from at least 5 percent of local voters who voted in the previous gubernatorial election.

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Justin Hauke