[r85] Pond Report: Indiana: A Leader in Government Transparency (9/8/2011)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Start Date: 9/8/2011 All Day
End Date: 9/8/2011
Having transparency in our government is something that Indiana House Republicans have focused on for many years and we even made it one of our top priorities this past legislative session. Last year, our caucus developed the Strengthen Indiana Plan and we emphasized the protection of Hoosier taxpayers.

One way to assist taxpayers is through the Indiana Transparency Portal, which was created by Allen County native and our current State Auditor Tim Berry to bring accountability to Indiana State Government. This is a great resource for Hoosiers. Utilizing this website is an excellent way to see how your taxpayer dollars are being spent and to make sure they are being used in a productive manner. 

We worked toward increasing transparency by passing House Enrolled Act 1004, which gives Indiana taxpayers an inside look  into state, local and school corporation spending and also provides provisions for future administrations to continue the transparency website.

The main goal is to provide taxpayers and government officials with a centralized location where they can compare different budget items with other communities and school corporations.

In 2010, six states along with Indiana created new transparency portals. Since that time, Indiana received one of the highest scores on the 2011 transparency report by the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) According to U.S. PIRG, all 50 states were graded on how well they provide online access to information about government spending.

States were given "A" to "F" grades based on characteristics of their online transparency systems that provide information on contracts, subsidies and spending at quasi-public agencies. Indiana emerged as a national leader in transparency based on the conducted research by U.S. PIRG.

 The user-friendly website contains detailed information about government spending, financial information including budgets and expenditures by local governments, state agencies, and educational institutions, as well as property owned by the state.

Financial information included on this website has been available through multiple sources for many years. Yet, it was not until the creation of the transparency portal that one central location existed for Indiana residents to easily search through the vast amount of data.

Our government functions on taxpayer dollars and, with technological advances, the State Auditor's office was able to make state government finances available to any Hoosier accessible via the Internet.

House Republicans felt Hoosiers had the right to know where their dollars were being spent, and through this website the public will have more access to local government and school budgets.

Being able to compare budgets will increase efficiency and will develop a form of accountability when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars. The transparency website is a great asset and development that allows anyone interested to better understand the fiscal position of our state.

For more information on this topic and to view the Indiana Transparency Portal, visit http://www.in.gov/itp