We already knew Gov. Polis’s shutdowns cost small businesses untold amounts of cash, but it also turns out his underlings at the Colorado Department of Labor aren’t entirely sure what they did with tax dollars collected from Colorado businesses.
A state audit of the department released this week couldn’t verify the accounting of hundreds of millions of dollars that entered and exited the agency.
“The state’s auditors gave the unemployment insurance fund the lowest possible rating in a financial audit.”
Resignations or firings?
— George Brauchler (@GeorgeBrauchler) March 17, 2021
The audit, which covered the 2020 fiscal year through June 30, couldn’t verify $510 million in premiums paid by businesses and $872 million in outstanding unemployment claims.
The scathing audit raises a politically uncomfortable possibility for Polis that the state may have simply incinerated an untold amount of tax dollars with zero accountability.
The frightening truth is there is no way to know for sure because their books are a complete disaster.
Here’s the kicker: The department blamed their failure to keep appropriate records of potential benefit overpayments on Polis’s March 20 executive order last year that mandated to pay displaced workers within 10 days.
Apparently Polis never questioned the agency’s decision when they took the approach to pay now and verify later.
Quite an oversight for a supposedly financially savvy chief executive with a lucrative private sector background.
It kind of makes you wonder how Polis ever made any money at all.
The jaw-dropping audit comes on the heels of immense dysfunction the labor department has experienced addressing unemployment claims and distributing benefits in a timely manner.
Gov. Polis previously blamed the backlog of claims on antiquated back-end technology.
Polis refused to accept responsibility for the fiasco even though the outdated system went completely unaddressed until recently, by both his administration and former Gov. Hickenlooper for eight years.
The state recently implemented a technical update, although it hasn’t solved all of the issues.
As it stands, the unemployment benefits trust fund is almost $1 billion underwater, which will be replenished by even more premiums paid for by Colorado businesses.
No word yet on whether Polis will issue a refund to the small business owners whose finances have been completely wrecked by his shutdowns and incompetence.