Nicole Galloway, State Auditor for the State of Missouri, spoke to the West County Democrats on Monday, November 13, 2017 at its monthly meeting. She leads the Missouri State Auditor’s office, which is charged with being the watchdog for citizens holding government accountable, shining light throughout the state and bringing innovation to the forefront. She began her career as a CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner, but now holds public officials accountable.
Ms. Galloway gave an overview of Missouri’s economic situation, citing the need for an even-playing field for small businesses and citizens. There are over 200 local tax laws which make it hard for small businesses to manage. The average taxes paid by Missouri families have increased. She has found across the state that special taxing district laws are fraught with conflicts of interest. State programs are being cut or not funded, especially higher education. The Governor has withheld additional money from higher education causing tuition and fees to rise. Currently there is a $500 million shortfall in the budget.
She said that the Governor promised ethics reform but the situation in Jefferson City is worse than ever. She described a dark cloud that has descended upon the Capital with the 501(c)(4) organizations associated with the Governor. Whistleblower protections for state and local employees were removed, which Sen. Jill Schupp will be attempting to fix. She is concerned that no one is checking to determine the monetary impact of state legislation being passed.
Ms. Galloway answered questions from the audience in regard to the Missouri lottery and education funds, special taxing districts, micro-districts, transparency laws, and methods of prosecuting abuses of government. She was knowledgeable, presenting statistics and facts to support her conclusions.
She was asked about her chances of winning re-election in 2018, answering that poll numbers reflect that she has the ability to win. She believes that there will be a Republican primary. The Democrats will be the opposing party in 2018 and hopes to win as other Democrats have won in recent elections. Her campaign is developing a flyer to show the impressive results and statistics of the Auditor’s office under her leadership. She is passionate about being a watchdog, not a lap dog. Her message is bi-partisan; she stands on the side of the taxpayers; and she has had support from moderate Republicans. In regard to fundraising, Ms. Galloway said that a candidate does not need the most money – just the right amount of money to be elected!
Submitted by Jennifer Hoffman, WCD Member