Lawmaker pushes bill aimed at protecting tax dollars

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A measure is going through the state legislature to make sure your tax dollars are being invested wisely. This comes after an audit accused the State Treasurer's Office of losing millions of tax dollars when it shifted investments before the recession hit.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill is asking to put an advisory board in place to oversee the Treasurer's decisions.

"We collect the funds, we spend the funds and we have a responsibility to the public and to the citizens of Idaho to make sure we're doing a good job," Hill told KBOI.

Hill says the state's Audit Office suggested adding an advisory board after it reported that the Treasurer's Office inappropriately transferred investments and as a result lost $10.2 million in taxpayer money.

The advisory board would be made up of five volunteers with extensive backgrounds in finance. They would be appointed by the Governor. Though they wouldn't be given a salary, they'd each be paid $50 every time they meet.

The bill says they'd be required to meet with the Treasurer at least four times a year. Hill says he expects they'd meet up to eight times a year. So the cost of the board would cosy around $1,000 to $2,000 of tax money a year, coming out of the Treasurer's budget.

"They will look at our portfolio. They'll look at the investments. They'll look at yields and how we're performing, and offer suggestions," said Ron Crane, Idaho's State Treasurer.

Crane says though he already has some advisors in his office, he supports the bill that would give him additional guidance.

"This oversight committee that's being proposed is outside of our office, and is another set of eyes. And we think that's good," Crane told KBOI.