Citizen Auditor

BACKGROUND. Our national affiliate, National Taxpayers Union, in conjunction with the Independence Institute think tank in Colorado, is conducting a campaign to encourage taxpayer groups around the nation to establish Citizen Auditor projects. Citizen Auditor enlists the assistance of financial professionals, like CPAs, financial advisers, etc., to conduct seminars in which taxpaying citizens can learn how to tackle local and state taxing authority budgets and budget matters. The main objective is to offer taxing authority officials ideas and suggestions for cost savings through budget cuts. Another objective is to expose waste, inefficiency, duplication, and fraud in government. Other objectives include pressing officials to control or lower taxes, to eliminate burdensome, unnecessary regulations, and to encourage budgetary transparency and readable budgets. A long-range objective is to pass state legislation mandating additional budget transparency.

THE NECESSITY. So often, we hear from our NTF members and others that they dutifully follow budgetary matters up to a point, communicating with their elected official or board member, attending weekly or monthly taxing authority meetings. However, when the annual budget or other cumbersome document appears, whether in hard copy or online, many become disheartened and desist, because they cannot figure out how to analyze a huge mass of numbers and statistics and easily find waste, inefficiency, duplication, etc. Federal and state aid to local Nebraska subdivisions is disappearing, so these taxing authorities will attempt to raise property taxes. We must implement Citizen Auditor to show local officials how and where to cut budgets.

SEMINAR SESSIONS. NTF is hosting regular Tea Party Citizen Auditor seminars, directed by financial experts who show through Power Point presentations and hard copy materials how to become really formidable taxpayer watchdogs on budget items. One need not page through an entire budget but only select portions to examine. Taxpayer watchdogs then can more easily and intelligently lobby and monitor their taxing officials. Watchdogs must make a commitment, however, to continue their pressure on their target, e.g., a city council, county board, school board, etc. Every watchdog receives a project packet containing contact, meeting, and financial information pertaining to a taxing authority, together with helpful outlines, worksheets, and issue papers. Lone wolf or team member, you will be ready and able to tackle the taxers and help you and your community control taxes and spending.

CONCLUSION. Taxpayers deserve to know how governments spend our money that they take in taxes. We believe that taxpayers have the right to know from taxing officials the dispensation of every penny of tax money. Enclosed is a list of all local taxing authorities in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Please select at least one government entity from this list or one in your local area in Nebraska. Plan to attend one of our NTF seminars and learn how to become a taxpayer watchdog, a Citizen Auditor. Contact us at netaxpayers@gmail.com.

Research and documentation for this issue paper done by members of Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom, with express prior permission granted for its use by Citizens for Local Control, Cherry County Taxpayers, Dawes County Taxpayers, and other groups in the Tax Freedom Network.

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