You have heard that sunshine is the best disinfectant to corruption in government. In recent years, the House of Representatives Government Modernization Committee has approved numerous transparency initiatives to shine as much light on government activities as possible. We know that when the taxpayer can see how the government spends money, the odds are much greater that corruption will not occur.
Here is an update about some of these new transparency tools. Have you had a chance to view them yet?
Remember the data.ok.gov web portal? This portal has been designed to push state government data out to the public. This allows taxpayers to inspect government records such as employee payroll, expenditures placed onto state purchase cards, and spending by state agencies. The site now hosts just under 7,000 datasets. One of these datasets, the state payroll for the 4th quarter of 2010, has been viewed nearly 11,000 times.
A recently posted dataset allows the reader to view property owned by various state agencies. Can you imagine the level of accountability this brings? I remember when a state employee was accused of theft after surveillance footage showed him taking equipment to his vehicle. He couldn’t be convicted because the state inventory records couldn’t prove that the equipment was ever owned by the state.
Today, the integrity of the state inventory isn’t just being improved, it is also being placed online for all to see, along with the value of each item. Now you are the judge of how your taxpayer dollars are being spent. Did agency ABC really need to purchase item 123? It’s your call!
Would you like to see how your school district spends your money? Thanks to the commitment of Superintendent Janet Barresi and state education officials and the fact that they were one of the first state agencies to come into compliance with the IT consolidation law, the education spending transparency service is now online and taxpayers can now see detailed accounting for each school district. Taxpayers can compare their school districts to similarly sized districts to see which is most efficient. Visit hd31.org/352 to see this portal. Here you can see how your local public school district is spending their budget.
Documents.ok.gov is one of the newest transparency sites. Each year, state government produces hundreds of reports. This site is supposed to capture these reports in one place where they can be viewed by taxpayers instead of just collecting dust on a shelf. The site currently hosts 8,449 documents.
Forms.ok.gov serves as a one-stop shop for state forms. This idea came from a state employee and House District 31 constituent. He expressed frustration with having to go from agency to agency to get the necessary forms to do his job. If getting forms from the government was such a pain for a state employee, imagine how annoying this task is for the taxpayer. The site already contains over 200 state forms – now conveniently in one place.
None of this progress would have been possible without those state employees who are working hard to bring the Legislature’s vision for transparency to life. They are doing a great job! As a taxpayer, please exercise your right to use these tools to become even more informed about your state government.
Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.org with your thoughts and suggestions.