Senator Larry George: Bill eyes quasi-governmental entities

New legislation would shed light on quasi-governmental entities
Accountability must follow taxpayer dollars
State Senator Larry George

Salem — Senate Bill 832 introduced by Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood) would bring transparency to all public, semi or non-governmental entities that receive money from the state. The bill would make each entity’s detailed financial records available for legislative oversight. Currently, the legislature lacks clear authority over groups or agencies that receive money from taxes, fees or assessments paid by Oregon taxpayers.

“Oregon taxpayers expect that every dollar they send to state government is used efficiently and effectively, and that requires constant oversight and accountability,” said George. “Millions of dollars are sent to entities that don’t qualify as government agencies but serve the public purpose. They use taxpayer dollars, and they should be held accountable for how those dollars are spent.”

Entities like the Energy Trust of Oregon, the State Accident Insurance Fund Corporation, and the Oregon Film and Video Corporation are examples of quasi-governmental agencies that are currently in a grey area when it comes to the financial details of their enterprises. These entities and their controlling officers often wield considerable influence and financial power as they consider grants and handouts to corporations and individuals around the state.

“Transparency and accountability are essential if we are to ensure that tax payer dollars are used in ways that are ethically and fiscally responsible,” said George. “There is no reason these entities shouldn’t have an open door policy to their accounting details.”

The bill is waiting for committee assignment on Senate President Peter Courtney’s (D-Salem) desk.