State Treasurer John Kennedy has put 36 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on notice until Aug. 31 to "fulfill their obligations under the law or to be turned over to the Office of Debt Recovery," according to a news release from the Louisiana Department of Treasury.
Kennedy said, in all, the NGOs owe around $4.452 million to the state's taxpayers.
"The Legislature and the Governor made it very clear with the passage of House Bill 629 and the establishment of the Office of Debt Recovery that the days of owing the state money and hiding are over," Kennedy said. "We now have an agency in state government with teeth whose sole mission is to ensure every penny owed to the taxpayers is recovered."
The only Lake Area entity on the list is the National Empowerment Coalition Inc. The entity reportedly owes $150,000 to the state.
Kennedy said the Department of Treasury will issue final demand letters this week to all of the entities.
Kennedy said under law, they must comply with Executive Order BJ 2008-30, established by Governor Kathleen Blanco and continued by Governor Bobby Jindal.
Kennedy said the provision ensures "transparency and accountability to NGOs that have received direct taxpayer support in past appropriation bills."
"Over the last several years, our Audit & Compliance Division has repeatedly sent certified letters, sent e-mails and even made personal call attempts to these particular entities demanding the required 'progress reports' and the supporting documentation required under the law with little or no response," said Kennedy. "While most NGOs have worked in good faith with our office and have been in compliance, these 36 organizations have become the most flagrant violators of these important requirements."
Kennedy said under the regulations, NGOs receiving taxpayer money directly from House Bill 1 must provide reports and documentation to the state in order to maintain their NGO funding.