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January 22nd, 2011

Paulsen: Transparency and Openness

By Speaker Kraig Paulsen
This week the House State Government committee discussed an important piece of legislation — House File 6 is a bill that deals with encouraging more transparency and openness in state government by creating a searchable budget database and a searchable tax rate database.

The database will compile information so Iowans will be able to easily access where their tax dollars are being spent and for what purpose.  The information in the database will include those records from all state departments and all three branches of government.

Beginning January 1, 2013, the Department of Management must create this free database that allows the public access to the following:

Name and location of the entity or recipient of state funds
Amount of state funds expended
Funding source
Budget program or activity
Purpose
Expected outcome
Past Performance
State audits or reporting related to the expenditure

Not only will this searchable database allow Iowans closer access and increased accountability with their state government, but it will aid in helping to find even more budget savings and efficiencies.  Iowa taxpayers deserve to know where every one of their dollars is being spent.

This bill was passed out of committee and will likely be debated on the floor next week.

Wednesday night the House took up the historic Taxpayers First Act, which I have been discussing the past few weeks.  This was our first bill of the 2011 legislative session to be debated on the floor and it passed on a vote of 60 to 40.

Republicans’ first official act in the majority was to make good on our campaign promise to rein in government spending and prioritize Iowans’ desires.  With this bill we realigned spending with revenues and put an end to using one-time money for on-going expenses.  We streamlined government, we established priorities, and we created at Taxpayer Relief Fund.  This is a bill that began two years ago with cost-saving suggestions from Iowans.

Gov. Branstad praised our efforts saying, “This bill is a recognition that Iowans do not want the state to continue to spend more than it takes in.  This is a thoughtful approach toward putting our state on track for fiscal responsibility…I commend House Republicans for their hard work in getting this bill passed.”

The bill was sent to the Senate – hopefully they have the same commitment to protecting Iowa taxpayers as House Republicans do.   To contact them and ask them to bring this bill forward, click here.

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