Audits in the News: Economic development and water resources

We here in the audits division are proud that the work we do makes a difference. Our work attracts the attention of the legislature, statewide news sources, and even local media outlets. Local media coverage of our audits is just another way we communicate with the people of Oregon about the work that we’re doing on their behalf to make government better. This is part of an ongoing series of posts rounding up recent instances in which the Oregon Audits Division makes a cameo in the local news.

The work of the Oregon Audits Division continues to be highlighted in the media, with reporters helping to explain and clarify audit findings of complex government topics. This time around, one audit team examined Business Oregon, the state’s primary economic development agency, and identified ways the agency could improve the evaluation and transparency of various incentives and loan programs. Another team pointed out how the Oregon Water Resources Department could benefit from long-term planning, an enhanced focus on groundwater protection, and better data collection and analysis.

You can read the entire Business Oregon audit here and the Oregon Water Resources Department audit here.

Willamette Week – New Audit Finds State’s Economic Development Agency Gives Lots of Goodies But Fails to Measure Results

Read the story here.

“Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins today released her audits division’s look at Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency. Business Oregon seeks to recruit and retain businesses and help existing operations grow through a variety of grants, loans and tax breaks. The agency will hand out $680 million in the 2015-17 budget cycle, with the biggest chunk of that going to property tax breaks for Intel’s research and manufacturing facilities in Washington County.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) – Audit: More Transparency Needed For Oregon’s Economic Incentives

Read the story here.

“Oregon’s agency devoted to economic development should provide more transparency about how its incentives are being used. That’s one of the findings of an audit of Business Oregon released Monday by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.”

The Register-Guard – Audit highlights problems with Oregon’s tax and cash incentive programs for businesses

Read the story here.

“Oregon should work to ensure better return on investment and transparency in the $340 million a year in tax breaks and cash incentives it provides to businesses, a new audit from the Secretary of State’s office concludes. The audit, released Monday, examines Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, and the incentives it provides directly to private companies. Those sweeteners — including forgivable and low-interest loans, tax credits, and direct cash assistance — total $72.5 million a year.”

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) – Audit Finds Problems At Oregon’s Water Resources Department

Read the story here.

“The agency in charge of managing Oregon’s water resources is being stretched to the limit. That’s one of the findings in a new audit from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office.”

The Bend Bulletin – State audit: Focus more on sustaining water

Read the story here.

“The Oregon Water Resources Department could better balance water rights with actions to restore streamflows, according to a new state audit. The agency also lacks the resources and strategic planning needed to guard against over-use and contamination of existing water supplies, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office said. The office’s audit, released Thursday, called for the department to focus more on protecting groundwater, collecting data and planning long-term to prioritize efforts and resources.”

Portland Tribune – Audit faults water resources dept. data collection, analysis

Read the story here.

“An audit released Thursday by the Secretary of State’s Office calls on the state’s Water Resources Department to improve its long-term planning and management of Oregon’s water supply. The department is responsible for allocating water rights, enforcing the state’s water laws and other aspects of water management. It’s overseen by a citizen commission.”