State Auditor Nicole Galloway says an audit of lawsuits and settlements involving the state have cost Missourians more than $115 million over a six-year period. It also found installments out of a fund used to make lawsuit payments against the state were consistently higher than budgeted amounts.
In fiscal 2017, for example, the actual amount spent was more than $17 million higher than what was budgeted. These payments are funded by general revenue, which also funds services such as K-12 and higher education. Over a six-year period, expenses from the fund totaled more than $79 million.
“The legislature is essentially budgeting by guesswork, often using the same figure year after year, ignoring a history of high legal expenses,” Galloway said.
Galloway’s office also examined settlements and payments outside of the state settlement fund. In less than three years, these payments totaled another $36 million by 13 entities including state universities, the Department of Transportation and Department of Conservation.
Galloway said the Office of Administration, which administers the fund in partnership with the Attorney General’s Office, relies on an outdated system that lacks the ability to produce basic electronic reports. She said this makes it difficult to monitor the nature of the cases and identify if an agency is experiencing a high volume of a particular type of claim.
Read more: Missourinet