House Legacy chairman: Reports on spending will improve

Legacy Amendent funds accounting graphic
The above graph shows what percentage of each Legacy Amendment fund for 2010-2011 has been accounted for on the state's Legacy website designed for the public to keep track of the special sales tax dollars. But details are often lacking about which groups or projects received grants and whether the work was finished.
MPR Graphic/Elizabeth Dunbar

The representative who oversees Legacy spending in the Minnesota House said he expects reporting on where money from the constitutional amendment is being spent will improve under new rules.

Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, said Legacy recipients now have to report how they're spending the money by Jan. 15 — a little more than six months into the fiscal year.

"The new January deadline will provide additional accountability, strengthen the process and allay rightful concerns," Urdahl wrote in a column for to The Free Press of Mankato.

The newspaper published an editorial calling for more transparency in how the Legacy funds are being spent following an MPR News report that found a quarter of the funds from the first two years of the amendment were missing from a state website designed to track Legacy spending.

Urdahl said new language in the law says recipients won't get money if they don't comply with reporting guidelines.

"The Legacy Amendment generates a substantial amount of money and therefore warrants close examination and evaluation. It will take time for this year's improvements to take root in upcoming cycles, but new safeguards are indeed in place," he wrote. "Additional changes could be necessary throughout the 23 years it is to remain in existence."

Urdahl said he's looking forward to the state Legislative Auditor's report on Legacy spending, which will be released Nov. 30.

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