Monday, January 31, 2011

Transparency Bill Gains Big Backers

A measure to create an online database of all state expenditures is gathering support from some big names in Pennsylvania government.

Governor Tom Corbett and the legislature’s top Republicans are backing Representative Jim Christiana’s PennWATCH legislation, a $150,000 effort to list all of Pennsylvania’s expenses in great detail.

Christiana says he thinks his legislation will have bipartisan support, because opponents may find it difficult to denounce a bill promoting transparency.

“They do it in a subtle way. The opposition talks about the cost of building this site, the fact that Pennsylvania I.T. infrastructure is so outdated and it’s going to cost several million dollars to fix,” says Christiana. “But that’s really to disguise that you just don’t want transparency.”

The Beaver County Republican says 26 other states have implemented online databases of expenditures. He says Pennsylvanians have the right to know how their taxes are being spent.

Christiana says the website would give information about specific contracts and contractors. He says he’s hopeful that with swift passage, the site can be active by January 2012.

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