Sinful Politicians and Online Budgets

Oregon public servants often plead poverty in their bid to convince voters to pass tax increases. After the election, regardless of the outcome, extra monies seem to appear out of thin air for this or that project. What gives? Well, some politicians are skilled at sleight-of-budget tricks. For example, since 2001, the New York City Council has funneled millions of dollars to fake organizations.

Sara Kugler of the Associated Press reports, these were considered reserve funds of sorts; the money was eventually doled out by the Council. For at least one year, this fraud occurred under the council leadership and knowledge of Christine Quinn, a contender for replacing Mayor Bloomberg. Kugler interestingly notes, Quinn “has tried to make open government a hallmark of her agenda.”

Oregon governments, from the top down, should put their budgets online, and in easily searchable format. Washington State started down that road April 1. The Show Me the Spending Coalition, founded in 2007 by the National Taxpayers Union, applauded the move. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation and Washington Policy Center (WPC) assisted in advancing the “Google Government” idea.

Where is Oregon on the issue of government budget transparency? Click here to learn the sad answer. Perhaps a bus load of Oregonians should traipse up to SeaTac on April 15 to attend the WPC’s transparency conference. Such openness here would help keep Beaver State public servants from being as deceitfully sinful as the politicians in The Big Apple.