By now, you’ve all heard about the hot water Governor Easley’s administration has gotten itself into regarding all those deleted e-mails.
"North Carolina scores only a hair’s breadth above a C in the latest national report card on government management.
At least it isn’t New Hampshire, which rated a D-plus. But it isn’t Virginia, Utah or Washington, either, which scored the only A’s (A-minuses) in the nation.
The less-than-stellar B-minus comes in a Pew Center evaluation of state governments."
More from the N-R article:
"’As things stand,’ the report says, ‘the governor’s budget document is the place where the transparency ends. Some budget information published by the legislature can be difficult even for experts to follow,’ the report adds, ‘and public input in legislative hearings is in most cases severely limited.’
The study does not even mention perhaps the most irksome feature of the state budgeting process, where lawmakers slip additions into the final budget bill at the 11th hour, devoid of any meaningful debate or discussion."
Greater transparency on behalf of our state government is something I address in our recently released Budget Blueprint, with the following recommendations:
– Create a transparency Web site. Like the federal government and several other states, North Carolina should create a free, publicly searchable and user-friendly Web site that publishes every aspect of state government spending. The Web site should also provide information on tax credits and grants provided to businesses, nonprofits, community development projects, and other entities.
– Follow procedural rules when crafting the budget. The Legislature should be held publicly accountable by disclosing on the General Assembly Web site every item and provision that violates procedural rules. Unbeknownst to most voters, the General Assembly violated its own rules more than 100 times last session by including new budget items and provisions at the last minute (after both chambers passed a version of the budget); changing items that had already been agreed to in both chambers’ budgets; and providing more money for items than was proposed in either chamber’s budget.
The time is right for North Carolina state lawmakers to do the right thing and open up their books so that average taxpayers can easily see how their tax dollars are being spent.