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Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016

State credit cards need close scrutiny

Friday, August 30, 2002

Ok, so I'll ask the obvious question. Why do 2,600 state government workers in Missouri need state credit cards? An audit released Thursday shows substantial abuse and questionable purchases by some of the state employees who have the state-issued credit cards.

It makes you wonder when items such as televisions and digital cameras are purchased with state credit cards. We recognize the convenience and need for the credit card program. But we also wonder why so many state workers carry the taxpayer-funded plastic.

The result of the audit will be obvious. A number of state employees who now have the credit cards will soon be asked to return them. And $3,000 monthly credit limits will be reduced substantially. But aside from convenience, do that many state workers really need to carry the credit cards? That question too should be answered soon.

It matters not if it's a business or state government. All segments of commerce need accountability. Credit cards ironically should actually provide for improved accountability because the purchases can be tracked. But when this many people have access with limited checks and balances, then the potential for abuse is strong. We don't mean to imply abuse as in wrongful spending. We mean abuse in terms of limited rules and guidelines that may not catch purchases for items that could be had for less elsewhere.

In tough economic times we must all examine our spending. That applies to state government as well. Maybe it's time to reduce our state credit cards in half and measure the result.

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