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Mo. auditor halts fiscal estimates for initiatives

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich.

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has instructed his staff to stop doing financial estimates for ballot initiatives because of several recent court decisions.

Schweich says the court rulings have made it impossible to conduct financial estimates that can withstand legal challenges.

The memo telling staff to temporarily stop providing financial analyses for initiatives was obtained by The Associated Press under an open-records request.

By law, the auditor is responsible for estimating the cost to state and local governments of potential ballot initiatives. But a Cole County judge recently ruled the auditor has no constitutional authority to do the analysis.

Two recent rulings by other Cole County judges did not overturn the auditor's general authority to prepare financial estimates, but they struck down the estimates for other reasons.