Proposed Charter Changes Threaten City’s Financial Structure and Transparency

Press Statement by Comptroller Darlene Green

St. Louis–July 1, 2024—The proposed charter changes to eliminate the independent elected comptroller and the Board of Estimate & Apportionment (E&A) will have devastating consequences for the city’s financial structure and transparency. As the chief fiscal officer of the City of St. Louis, I am deeply concerned about the potential impact of these changes on the city’s credit rating and taxpayer dollars.

The proposed charter changes would completely dismantle the strong financial structure of the city, weakening checks and balances and removing transparency. This would leave city taxpayer’s dollars vulnerable to corruption and abuse.

One of the most concerning consequences of these changes is the potential downgrade of the city’s credit rating. The city’s credit rating has not been an A+ rating in over 35 years, but under my leadership in May of 2008, it was upgraded to an A-category credit. This was due in part to our strong financial management, which is now at risk if these changes are implemented.

The proposed charter changes offer no improvements to the city’s financial structure to protect taxpayer’s dollars. In fact, they would eliminate the E&A Board and its monthly meetings that are open to the public, replacing them with closed-door meetings. This would remove transparency and weaken checks and balances on city finances by removing the elected comptroller.

The public advocate charter change is not about protecting or supporting the city against corruption and abuse, as is currently done by the elected comptroller. The comptroller serves as an independent advocate for the people and a watchdog over taxpayer dollars.

Together, the Board of E&A and an independent elected comptroller provide a layer of structural protection and accountability for local government finances. Without these safeguards, accountability and transparency would be forever lost.

It is crucial that these proposed charter changes are not implemented. The city’s financial structure and transparency must be protected to ensure the safety and security of taxpayer dollars. As the comptroller, I am committed to safeguarding the city’s credit rating and protecting taxpayer dollars. Visit www.stlouismo.gov/comptroller to learn more about the Office of the Comptroller.

 

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