Audit - Tracking state buying tough

Friday, September 24, 2004

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Office of Administration should establish a system to track which purchases are made from out-of-state companies, a state audit released Thursday says.

The audit estimates 14 percent of state government's $2.4 billion in purchases went to out-of-state companies in the 2003 fiscal year.

The audit said that while the Office of Administration and state agencies are following state law in making purchases, the Office of Administration has no good way to track how much business goes to companies outside Missouri.

In a written response to the audit, the Office of Administration said that developing and using such a system to locate more than 150,000 vendors would be time-consuming, but it said it would see whether the idea is feasible.

"We are studying what we can do that's cost-effective," spokeswoman Ann Hamlin said.

The audit also noted an executive order from Gov. Bob Holden that adds weight to a law giving preference to Missouri companies, and said the administration office developed guidelines for agencies to use that include considering the company's economic presence in the state.

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