Jack Morris for State Senate campaign sign.

Press release from the Jack Morris for Indiana Senate campaign:

Morris announces plan to bring transparency to state spending
Open Government Initiative would give Hoosiers online access to state checkbook

(August 17, 2010) – Jack Morris Indiana Senate District 15 candidate announced his support today for a new government transparency plan aimed at bringing greater accountability in state budgeting and spending. Morris says Hoosiers have a right to know how their tax dollars are spent. A comprehensive, searchable online database of state spending and contracts would be an important step in transparency.

“Taxpayers should have access to the information to know how their dollars are spent by state government,” Morris said. “An online site with the details on state spending, state service cuts, contracts, and how job creation awards are being used, allows taxpayers to hold politicians accountable and gives us all greater confidence that government is serving us as it should.”

Morris’ announcement came after members of the Indiana Senate Democratic caucus released details of the Indiana Open Government Initiative. Morris pledged he would support legislative proposals expected for the 2011 legislative session requiring transparency to increase accountability.
The Indiana Open Government Initiative includes proposals for a state transparency website, accountability in state-funded incentives and restrictions on political contributions by state contractors.

Morris has been walking and talking almost daily with people in his district. He says they have provided great ideas for better government, including open access to what is spent and what was accomplished. He hopes all Hoosiers, will offer their own ideas on government transparency. Launched with the plan was a public forum where anyone can submit suggestions at: www.senatedemocrats.in.government/OpenGov.

“Hoosiers are not careless spenders and will use an open site to not only hold elected officials accountable, but will provide great feedback and ideas.” Morris added. “We the people function best when we all are involved. The Open Government Initiative provides the facts so the people can be involved.”

The Indiana Open Government Initiative includes specific proposals within three primary areas of focus:

  1. The Indiana OpenGov web site providing one-stop public access to state budgets, spending and contracts.
  2. Corporate accountability laws for state economic incentives, including ÒclawbackÓ provisions for companies that receive tax breaks then fail to make the investment or create the jobs promised.
  3. Ending “pay to play” in state contracts to ensure that they are awarded based on qualifications, not political contributions.

Open government initiatives can save millions of taxpayer dollars through more efficient government operations, more competitive contracting bids, fewer manual information requests, and lower risk of fraud. Transparency also allows states to track how well subsidies and tax incentives deliver results. Coupled with corporate accountability laws and greater public input, transparency allows the state to recoup funding from underperforming projects and programs and reinvest those dollars into more successful programs.

Thirty-two states already allow residents to access detailed information about government expenditures online.

More information on the Indiana Open Government Initiative, including greater detail of the proposals, links to other state transparency web sites and the public forum, is available at www.senatedemocrats.in.gov/OpenGov.

Jack Morris is the Democratic candidate for State Senate 15, which includes portions Northern, East central and Southeast Allen County. Jack, an attorney and partner in Benson, Pantello, Morris, James and Logan, has his office in Ft. Wayne. He and his wife, Carrie, have four children and four grandchildren who all reside in Fort Wayne.

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