JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who is gearing up for a bid for governor, wrote a letter to Missouri’s chief executive asking him to take action on reports of late tax refunds.

On Thursday, Galloway, the lone Democratic holding a statewide elected office, in her role as state auditor wrote a letter to Gov. Mike Parson imploring him to help Missourians who are still waiting for their tax refunds.

“My office has heard from Missourians who are waiting on their refunds to pay bills and for necessities,” Galloway wrote. “Those bills can’t get paid with canned responses and generic excuses. Taxes are processed at the same time every year. There is no excuse for taxpayers to be experiencing this level of dysfunction.”

In the letter, she referenced reports in which the Department of Revenue stated more than 70,000 Missourians are waiting on refunds. She also noted more than 1,000 of those individuals — many of who are seniors, are disabled, or have lower incomes — have contacted her office asking for help in getting answers about their the delayed refunds.

State law requires interest to be paid if the refunds are not issued within 45 days of the filings.

Audits of the refund process has shown varying time frames for the issuance of tax refunds. The report release in January 2018 detailed the state was late in issuing refunds to at least 555,000 individual taxpayers during the last fiscal year, and because of that, the state paid more than $420,000 in interest. In the year before, about 485,000 refunds were issued later than the deadline and cost the state about $306,000 in interest.

The report on the refund process release in early 2019 showed an improvement in the timeliness of refunds. Tax returns and refunds are handled by the Missouri Department of Revenue — which saw a leadership transition in March 2019.

“As you oversee the Department of Revenue, I’m asking for immediate action to address the backlog of delayed refunds,” Galloway wrote to Parson.

Galloway has begun preparations for a 2020 gubernatorial run, calling donors and union leaders to alert potential supporters of her plans, The Missouri Times has learned. State Sen. Scott Sifton has decided to forgo a gubernatorial bid and endorsed Galloway for the office instead.

In June, Galloway sent a letter to Parson blasting changes to the state contracting process. She wrote asking him to clean up “Jefferson City’s culture of corruption.”