In recent years many states have developed transparency websites so citizens can get accurate financial information about their state budgets. Indiana’s “Transparency Portal” is a great example.
Transparency in Montana? Not so much. The US Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) recently ranked Montana 49th out of 50 states in providing online access to spending data. The Big Sky State scored a whopping 7 points out of a possible 100.
Enter Carl Graham, of the Montana Policy Institute. Graham believes that good decisions can only be made with good and complete information. First he got data from the Montana Dept. of Public Instruction and developed a website to disseminate school district budget data, which allows users to compare expenditures from districts all over the state. But he didn’t stop there.
Next Graham set out to obtain salary data on all Montana state employees. It took two years, a battle with a recalcitrant Democrat administration, and a lawsuit against the state, but MPI prevailed. The result is their Montana Transparency in Government website. The online database is so popular than on the day of its announcement, it was slammed with so many inquiries a server upgrade was required.
Perhaps the state of Montana will be shamed into opening its books online before Graham and the MPI are forced to take the next step toward complete transparency for the taxpayers and citizens of the Big Sky State.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
Oh, I want the truth to be said!
Truth – Spandeau Ballet