Cost and Benefits of State Spending Transparency

The Mercatus Center has a new podcast on state online spending transparency.  Jerry Brito, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, discusses the need for spending transparency in states through online databases and searchable open books.   He says that criticism (coming mostly from legislators)is unfounded – these websites are inexpensive and that states that have built these websites have spent an average of $140,000.

The Commonwealth Foundation has advocated the need for spending transparency in Harrisburg on a consistent basis, such as HB 1460 or SB 105. Many states have already seen the need for some sort of an “open book” on government spending.

Kansas is one of the first states to pass substantive transparency legislation and boasts one of the most comprehensive online databases for government expenditures. Other outstanding examples include Oklahoma’s OpenBooks website and Missouri’s Accountability Portal, which also provides the salaries of government employees.