Transparency is Fundamental to Good Govt

Government transparency is a driving issue for Rep. Seth Grove. Without it, citizens can’t determine if state government is spending tax dollars efficiently. And hiding government operations from the public eye, like transferring spending to the shadow budget, is a recipe for waste, fraud, and abuse.

Rep. Grove recently sat down with the “Brews & Views” podcast to discuss the progress that’s been made in Pennsylvania and the work that remains to be done. He agrees that things have improved since he worked as a staffer in the Capitol in 1999; government is more open and transparent and many of the loopholes that were used to make bad deals for the taxpayers have been closed.

But Pennsylvania still has a long way to go. The state recently ranked 28th in the nation in terms of online government spending transparency in a study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. That’s not good enough for Rep. Grove; he wants Pennsylvania to be at the head of the pack.

The Pennsylvania House recently passed Grove’s House Bill 1843, which would enhance the State Treasurer’s award-winning “transparency portal” and codify the program so a future treasurer can’t shut it down. HB 1843 would also create the Commonwealth Checkbook, an online ledger giving taxpayers an inside look at how their money is being spent. To improve budget transparency, the bill requires state agencies to place original, unedited budget documents used to craft the governor’s budget proposal online for review. 

Rep. Grove notes

I have full confidence the taxpayers will appreciate and use this tool to examine and better understand how their money is being spent by state government. [HB 1843] would clean and enlarge the window through which taxpayers view the state’s financial dealings and ensure this tool will be around for decades to come.