Access to tax incentive data advanced

Senators advanced a bill Feb. 23 that would ensure the Legislative Audit Office’s access to data necessary for conducting performance audits of tax incentive programs.

LB1022, introduced by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee, would give the office direct access to all agency databases containing relevant program information. The bill would allow the office to request confidential state Department of Revenue data and remove current provisions giving the speaker of the Legislature and the chairperson of the committee access to confidential data in certain circumstances.

Syracuse Sen. Dan Watermeier, chairperson of the Legislative Performance Audit Committee, said the audit office must have access to confidential taxpayer data to perform thorough evaluations of state programs.

The bill would not change existing privacy protections, he said, and auditors would be allowed to review confidential tax records only at the state Department of Revenue. The office would be prohibited from including any information in its reports that could identify individual taxpayers, he said.

Senators adopted a technical amendment and voted 29-0 to advance the bill to select file.

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