Monday, August 27, 2007

Press Announcement: Transparency and Accountability

Hoogendyk Introduces Transparency Act

Or, "Whatever Happened to the $10 Million?"

LANSING, MI August 27, 2007 - State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk thinks Michigan residents have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.
Hoogendyk today introduced House Bill 5137 as part of the Michigan Government Funding and Transparency Act, to require the Department of Management and Budget to develop and operate a single, searchable web site accessible to the public at no charge that would feature a detailed list of all state expenditures. "This could be described as 'Google Government', said Hoogendyk, (R) Texas Twp. "It will be an easy way for anyone with a computer and Internet access to search every dime of state expenditures.
Hoogendyk pointed out overspending by the Department of Information Technology as an example of the lack of accountability. In December of 2003, the department approved a $10 million expenditure in the last month of a 40 month consulting contract with Policy Studies Incorporated that had no explanation or description of what the $10 million was for. "How can a department of State spend that much money with no apparent accountability?", asked Hoogendyk. "This Act will ensure that we know exactly where the money went."  
HB 5137 is modeled on bipartisan federal legislation passed by Congress and signed into law last year. U.S. Senators Tom Coburn and Barack Obama sponsored the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act to place all grants and contracts online. The federal web site is scheduled to be fully operational by January 2008. Similar legislation has already been introduced or passed in five other states.
"We need this legislation to make government more user friendly," Hoogendyk said. "It is unconscionable that our citizens should have to file a FOIA request and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars in copy and legal fees to access information that other states place on the Internet for all to review free of charge."


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