Open government should save taxpayers, not cost them

The Tribune Review has a scathing editorial about Governor Rendell’s decision to charge citizens for the cost of retrieving open records about the government.

In contrast, consider Texas, where the comptroller recently computed (courtesy ATR’s Center for Fiscal Accountability) that their online database of state spending saved taxpayers $8.7 million by helping to identify inefficiencies.

Instead of figuring out ways to gouge citizens for information about how their government spends their money (which will lead to less openness from government), Rendell should be pushing a comprehensive spending transparency, as we have called for.  Putting all the information online will make it easier to find information (and reduce the number of open records requests), but also will save taxpayers money.