Among the states in which legislation creating searchable Web sites for government expenditures has been introduced are Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Others exploring the issue are Alabama, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Utah. More are likely to follow soon.
A Kansas bill that would create a Web site detailing state and local revenue and expenditure information passed the House of Representatives on February 22. Information would include disbursements by state agencies from funds in the state treasury, salaries and wages–including compensation paid to individual state employees–contractual services, and capital outlays and commodities.
That several bills to this effect have been introduced in Oklahoma does not surprise Brandon Dutcher, vice president for policy at the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs.
“It’s only logical that Oklahoma would take the lead on this, since it is our own Senator Tom Coburn (R) who has been such a leader on this issue at the federal level,” Dutcher said.
“Transparency is important in Oklahoma,” Dutcher noted, “because if we ever hope to eliminate our state income tax, we are going to have to get a handle on spending. And one of the best ways to get a handle on spending is to locate and then shine a spotlight on the many ‘Bridge to Nowhere’-type projects that are marbled throughout the state budget.”
— Sandra Fabry