JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Newly signed legislation will increase transparency in governments says Missouri State Auditor Nicole Gallaway in a press release from Wednesday.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway

Senate Bill 112 will asses a penalty on local governments that fail to disclose required financial information. The bill passed after Gallaway released reports that showed almost half of the local governments in Missouri were holding back information abut how taxpayer dollars were being managed, which is in violation of the law.

“Public bodies that use taxpayer dollars must be accountable to the citizens the serve,” Gallaway said, “My reports have identified dismal compliance rates by local governments who fail to provide even basic information about their management of you tax dollars.”

The law will go into effect on August 28 of this year. The penalty is $500 a day for any local government that fails to turn in the required financial information to the state auditor’s office. Money incurred from the penalties will be collected by the Department of Revenue and distributed among schools in the area.

The legislation will also streamline county filings by allowing counties to electronically submit required budget documents to the auditor rather than submitting them through certified mail.

“When government relies on outdated processes it’s citizens who pay the price through increased expenses and lost efficiency of public services,” said Gallaway, “Just as with the private sector, government must identify areas where unnecessary and burdensome requirements can be eliminated.”

Auditor Gallaway worked with representatives Donna Pfautsch and Joe Don McGaugh on the legislation, which was signed into law on July 11.