Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Government transparency is understandably popular. Voters want to know what their governments are doing.

So smart politicians promise us more transparency, more sunshine, more info. But, being politicians, sometimes they don’t deliver. And, when they do, they often spend a whole lot more than necessary.

That’s what is happening in Virginia. Bills to put the state budget online have passed both chambers of the legislature — unanimously.

But politicians estimate that the cost to get the job done will run over $3 million. Wow. That’s a lot. How does that compare with other states?

At the Tertium Quids blog, there’s a letter posted from Ed Martin, chief of staff to former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt. Martin points out that two years ago Blunt created the Missouri Accountability Portal by executive order.

The website is a national model with a searchable database of state expenditures. It’s garnered over 17 million hits from interested citizens. And it cost less than $200,000.

Then there’s Nebraska State Treasurer Shane Osborn. As the Washington Examiner recently reported, he put Nebraska spending online without the legislature passing a law. He just did it.

“I used my staff to compile the data,” Osborn said. “I just viewed it as my job.”

The grand cost of Osborn’s excellent transparency website? Only $38,000.

Sounds like there are millions of reasons for Virginia to learn from others.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rubicon says:

    Osborn is to be commended for taking action that was clearly his responsibility & well within his authority. However, lets be realistic here. In many states if anyone did what Osborn did, their political life or government service career, would be over.
    The idea of transparency is one many politicians embrace as campaign rhetoric. However, once elected & able to follow through, most suddenly come up w/ all sorts of reasons (excuses) for not following through. From expense (which has been throughly discredited in this article alone), to technical difficulties (again, this article discredits that notion), to time or computer memory availability, to any number of excuses.
    Sooner of later, if we keep pressuring our politicians, we might be able to get this info on-line & available to citizens.
    Personally, I think even if it gets on-line, some politicians will find all sorts of ways to confuse, hide, & otherwise make sure whatever we read on-line, it will make no sense whatsoever.
    Democrats promised transparency in the 2006 elections & again in the 2008 elections. Now, to hear them tell it, such is not possible because we must act quickly on a number of issues (like spending trillions of taxpayers dollars & making sure few know what its being spent on, plus silencing any opposition from the political opposition since, they are hated Republican conservatives anyway, right?), & I think its probable that even once our current crisis solutions are passed & the money gone, we will be told how technically difficult this will be, how expensive this will be, plus, the way its done only an insane person would be able to make sense of what they actually report to us!

  2. DanFitzgerald says:

    Can you put some names to those politicians in Virginia?

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