Name as it appears on the ballot: Beth A. Wood
Campaign website: www.bethwoodcampaign.com
Phone number: 919-449-7733
Years lived in the state: 62
In your view, what are the three most pressing issues the state auditor faces?
Being able to pay salaries that are comparable with the private sector in order to obtain and maintain talented auditors.
Finding State leaders who will ensure that the findings resulting from audits performed by the State Auditor’s Office are corrected.
Keeping the Office of the State Auditor out of the politics in State Government.
If elected, what will you do to address these issues
I will continue to ensure that the staff of the Office of the State Auditor are providing the Legislature, the Governor and agency/organization heads audits with irrefutable findings. I will continue to demonstrate to the General Assembly that I hold my staff accountable for performing effective and efficient audits. I will continue to demonstrate to the General Assembly the need for talented, competent auditors who will deliver information they need to effectively do their job.
I will continue to guarantee to provide State leaders with irrefutable findings. I will continue to personally present findings to the General Assembly, the Governor and agency/organization heads and the consequences that come with findings.
I will continue to hold all staff of the State Auditor’s Office accountable for leaving their politics at the door as they perform work for the citizens of North Carolina.
Have you identified “wasteful spending” in the current budget that you would target should you be elected?
Absolutely. Medicaid continues to be problematic for the State. Medicaid is a $14 billion program, funded $10B by the federal government and $4B by State tax dollars. For FYE 2015 alone, our audit found that the State overpaid $845 million dollars to providers for medical expenses covered by Medicaid. Additionally, we found that Durable Medical Equipment, (hospital beds, wheel chairs, walkers etc) paid is subject to inappropriate spending of up to 30% because proper safeguards are not in place to ensure the moneys are not inappropriately spent. The state spends $170 million/year of Medicaid moneys on durable medical equipment. We have also found that the State has wasted hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars due to the State’s poor contracting practices.
What in your background or life experience has prepared you for this role?
I grew up in rural eastern North Carolina, in a family of 6, working on our family farm, struggling to make ends meet. I understand how hard it is to earn the tax dollars it takes to support the operations of our State government and our State programs. I understand wanting to ensure that tax payer dollars are not wasted.
Why do you believe you would be an effective state auditor?
I am the only candidate in this race that is a practicing CPA. I am the only candidate whose background and experience is directly related to the work the Office of the State Auditor is charged to do. Not only am I proficient in the audits of financial statements but I am proficient in the audit of federal and state grants and Performance audits. I have actually performed this work as an auditor and have taught CPAs across this great State and our nation how to audit taxpayer dollars. You can’t lead what you do not understand. The Office of the State Auditor is more effective in the last 8 years due to my leadership. The audits we have produced and our track record confirm this statement.
How would you rate the current budget in terms of fiscal soundness? Please explain.
I rate the current budget as fiscally sound, overall. The State’s AAA bond rating continues to remain intact. However, continuing to make across-the-board budget cuts is not fiscally sound. Budget adjustments (which could be cuts or increases) should be made based on agency performance, program needs (like education, job creation) and alleviating programs that are no longer useful or adding moneys to newer initiatives. One size does not fit all in the case of the state’s budgeting.
Why should voters see the state auditor position as a significant post, one that impacts their lives to the point where the feel they have a vested interest in the outcome of this race?
Most every citizen contributes to the resources that run our state, state income taxes, corporate taxes, and sales taxes. (Even children and the indigent pay sales taxes). Most every citizen uses the states services or services funded heavily with our tax dollars (public schools, economic development). Voters should ensure that the person with the qualifications, experience, background and determination is sitting in this seat making sure their tax dollars are properly accounted for, the State maintains its AAA bond rating and that their tax dollars are not wasted. There has never been a State Auditor with my qualifications, my credentials, my experience within the State Auditor’s Office or my track record.
Why is your political affiliation relevant in terms of your ability to perform the tasks you would be charged with should you be elected?
My political affiliation is secondary to my being a CPA. The State Auditor is bound by standards to audit all dollars, both red and blue, spent by the State of North Carolina, and to do so independently and objectively. I am a CPA and with that comes an oath that I will deliver independent, unbiased, work, supported by evidence. Unbiased, nonprejudice audits are critical to ensuring our State’s resources are being used as effectively and as efficiently as is possible.