Transparency Rises from the Grave
A bill to create a searchable online database for almost all state spending that had been declared dead was resurrected over the weekend and passed unanimously in a Senate committee yesterday, giving it strong chances to pass in the General Assembly this year.
The legislation, which passed the House of Delegates, was sponsored by a coalition of some of the state’s most conservative and liberal lawmakers, as well as progressive groups and anti-tax associations.
“I thought it would be a real shame if it didn’t make it out of committee,” said Ryan O’Donnell, executive director of Common Cause Maryland, a watchdog group that backed the bill. If the legislation becomes law, Marylanders will be able to find out exactly how much the state spends on construction projects or gives to specific contractors or programs like those for Chesapeake Bay restoration.
The idea is modeled after a new federal government Web site that went live in December, www.usa spending.gov.
Shedding light on the dubious spending practices of the state will be helpful disinfectant.