"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Friday, August 1, 2008

Increased Transparency In Government Is A Good Thing

Any time transparency in government is increased, it is a good day for the taxpayers. The Empire Center of New York State Policy did just that yesterday with the announcement of SeeThroughNY, a website design to present a clear view of how taxpayer's money is being spend.

The site, which is being dubbed as "a window on your money," has a number of searchable databases that contain the following information.
  • the entire payroll of more than 263,000 state government employees, cross-referenced by name, title, branch of government and agency;
  • current teachers’ union contracts and superintendent of schools’ contracts for nearly all of New York State’s 733 school and BOCES districts;
  • operating expenditures by both houses of the New York State Legislature; and
  • the Legislature’s pork-barrel “member items” spending for 2008-09.
The site should be a model for public organizations such as; DANC, school districts, county, towns and villages to follow, far more accountability and disclosure is necessary in government. The public deserves to know how their money is spent.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly believe in transparency in government. You mention Towns and Villages, however. Most of the information you speak about (payroll, spending) may be gleaned by simply picking-up a copy of your municipality's budget. Beyond that, one may attend their municipality's board meetings, or pick-up a copy of the minutes, to ascertain how well and effectively and truthfully the budget is being administered. Sadly, I don't see that happening very often. There is a certain apathy in the electorate that is frustrating to us proponents of government transparency.

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