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Ohio auditor supports legislation to get a handle on credit card use

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – While debit and credit cards are becoming more popular, local governments from towns to school districts aren’t always able to keep track of what they’re being used for.

There’s a new effort working to change that to make sure your tax dollars aren’t being used the wrong way.

The misuse of credit cards in the state has led to some significant amounts of theft. Yesterday, the first steps were taken in order to put a stop to it. State Auditor David Yost’s office has identified at least 35 cases where government issued credit cards were misused and tax payer dollars were stolen.

“About half of all governments that have credit cards don’t provide guidelines to the people who have them on what they are supposed to use them for,” Yost said.

Yost is working with House Representative Dave Greenspan and Kirk Schuring to craft legislation that puts rules in place.

“It is a practical solution, one that is commonly used in the private sector and one that we believe is essential to be used here in government to ensure tax payer dollars are being used effectively and efficiently,” Greenspan said.

The proposed legislation requires government subdivisions to choose between two options; the custody and control model or the compliance officer model.

The custody and control model allows treasurers who physically control the plastic credit or debit card to continue to operate as they have been, while requiring them to have a credit card policy. The compliance model would require that credit cards be held by the treasurer and checked out when needed. An itemized receipt would also need to be turned in with the card.

“When you think about how difficult and how precious tax payer dollars are, every dollar is precious,” Yost said.

A check of the auditor’s website revealed that there were three cases of credit misuse in Trumbull County. Lead Academy in 2012, LEARN Academy in 2012, and Kinsman Free Public Library.

This bill still has a long way to go before it becomes a law, but there are expectations that it will garner bi-partisan support because the bill’s sponsors say it is just common sense legislation.

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