Report shows taxpayer cost of unused state-issued cell phones

Turn off your cell phone! That’s about the jist of a report issued by the Mississippi State Auditor’s office about state-issued phones with little or no usage.

State Auditor Shad White (Courtesy photo)

Auditor Shad White’s report released Wednesday states taxpayers could save nearly $350,000 a year if state-issued cell phones with little to no usage were turned off. 

“My office has handled some of the biggest fraud cases in state history, but we’re also committed to looking for savings in the smallest corners of state government,” said White. “If we repurposed this money spent on unused cell phones, we could pay for 11 new police officer salaries or put 14 new police cruisers on the streets every year.”

The report shows that 30 percent of the over 2,100 analyzed mobile devices had little to no usage. The devices came from five state agencies whose combined annual budgets represent nearly 75 percent of the state’s yearly spending. The report also identified opportunities for state agencies to rightsize certain cell phone plans to reduce unnecessary spending. It concludes with recommendations all state agencies can use to reduce cellphone costs and save taxpayer money.

“We could be putting thousands more textbooks in classrooms each year instead of paying for unused cell phones,” said White. “Low-usage cell phones are just another opportunity for the state to reinvest money spent into more important areas.”

The full report is available online at the Auditor’s website under the “Reports” tab. Visit www.osa.ms.gov to learn more.

Bob Bakken

Bob Bakken is the most recognized and most trusted name in DeSoto County news and sports reporting, as readers continue to express their appreciation for his accuracy and fairness in the stories he writes. Bob provides content for DeSoto County News and occasionally is heard on the OB Pod podcast talking about area happenings. A former newspaper editor and writer, his award-winning background also includes television news producing, sports media relations, and radio broadcasting.

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