State auditor's report outlines $97M in savings for Mississippi

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The State Auditor says he's found several ways to save Mississippi almost $97 million.

Auditor Stacey Pickering released a report Thursday compiled at the request of the lieutenant governor. The report identified ten areas of contractual services where savings could be found.

Among them is a 25 percent cut in spending on postage and transportation costs on mailouts, notices, and newsletters from state agencies. By publishing those materials online and using email, the report said the state could save $3.3 million.

Pickering said his own office has switched to electronic invoicing and billing and cut the number of printed reports.

"These changes over the past year have resulted in thousands of dollars less in postage costs alone, not to mention the ancillary printing and labor costs involved in preparing such mail outs," Pickering said.

The report also recommends cutting utility costs by improving energy efficiency in state buildings, evaluating land, property and equipment the state rents, and eliminating promotion and advertising spending.

Pickering called on the legislature to mandate every state agency evaluate, reduce, renegotiate or eliminate contracted services.

"Finding the best possible price for services should transcend poor economic times. We should not wait for these times to determine how to save money or spend more wisely. State agencies should do this continuously, regardless of the economic conditions we face," Pickering said.

But the auditor warned, the savings won't be possible, if numerous exemptions are made to certain state agencies or cuts are less than recommended.

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