Our Take: The Legislature Should Focus on Increasing Government Transparency

January 24, 2013

Florida’s taxpayers deserve improved access to public records, budgets and contracts

Tallahassee, Florida—Today the Senate Governmental Oversight & Accountability Committee met to discuss government transparency and review presentations on two of the state’s current transparency websites. Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter (AFP-FL), with more than 145,000 activist members in the state, has outlined its 2013 legislative priorities in its Five for Florida plan. Point three of the plan addresses transparency as a measure of good government.

“It was refreshing to hear the members of the Government Oversight & Accountability Committee declare their dedication to increasing transparency of government spending,” said AFP-FL’s Director of Policy Abigail MacIver. “Chairman Ring has made it clear that he is determined to provide Floridians with a better, more transparent system than we currently have.  It makes no difference that Florida has publicly available records if the citizens don’t know how or where to find them.  It is important that citizens are able to not only access information but put it into the correct context.”

The meeting also focused heavily on the differences between the current sites and the Transparency 2.0 site that was created for the Senate under former Senate President Mike Haridopolos, with members repeatedly criticizing the no-bid contract and the cost associated with the creation and maintenance of the site.

“We hope that the members of the committee don’t become so focused on the previous contract that they lose site of the bigger picture here, which is providing citizens with access to the state’s records, budgets and contracts,” continued Mrs. MacIver. “The members rightly want to ensure that there is accountability for contracts they enter into, and believe they may have paid too much for too little with the Transparency 2.0 project. Ending the legislature’s current practice of awarding no-bid contracts while also providing public access for legislative spending would help prevent any future misuse of taxpayer dollars.”

Learn more about AFP-FL’s Five for Florida plan here.

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