Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Opening the State Books

Yesterday, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced Open Book New York, a searchable database of state agency spending, including the past 10 years of active contracts.

We're always fans of increased transparency, and the effort's press release includes the usual list of laudatory quotes from the legislative leaders. What's curious is both Senate Majority Leader Bruno and Assembly Speaker Silver (quote below) claim to similar fans of transparency. If that's the case then why don't they make records of their houses, including all attendance and votes public via a similar website?

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: “I applaud Comptroller DiNapoli for this initiative to bring taxpayers more information and increase government accountability. This new Web site mirrors a Senate Majority bill, passed last week, that would have established a similar site to provide taxpayers with more information on government spending and performance. With millions of middle class families tightening their belts to overcome tough economic times, taxpayers have every right to demand that their government operates as openly and efficiently as possible.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “The Assembly has long supported measures to increase government transparency and accountability. Open Book NY will do just that by giving the public easy internet-based access to information regarding state spending and contacts, and I commend Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for launching this important initiative.”

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