Illinois needs transparency

By The Madison County Record | Apr 11, 2010

To the Editor:

Government transparency is past due and definitely needed at all levels of government.

Recently, Madison County Board member Chris Slusser (R) proposed Madison County government become more transparent by placing the county's checkbook on line for taxpayers to see.

With the enormous public distrust in government at all levels, Mr. Slusser's idea is timely and necessary. It will save the countymoney and is good for the environment by reducing paper usage.

Illinois citizens are discouraged and cynical about a state government riddled with corruption. "Pay to play" defines the political culture: Six Illinois governors indicted in the past 80 years, with four convicted of public corruption; three have been convicted with charges including racketeering, lying, fraud, bribery and misuse of campaign funds.

State legislatures in Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Texas and Florida have enacted transparency, eliminating the need to search obscure budgets to find hidden expenditures. These states have won wide acclaim for their proactive and open approach. Illinois needs to follow these states and open up the books.

Financial transparency is good government. Taxpayers deserve to see where every penny of taxes is spent. Transparency invites citizens to review the government's books and provide feedback. Furthermore, it holds government leaders publicly responsible and accountable for financial decisions. Financial transparency acts as a deterrent to corruption.

Confidence in government can be restored when county and state checkbook expenditures are posted online. No one can fix what's wrong with government, until we have all the information available.

Dwight Kay
Candidate for State Representative
112th District

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