Earlier today, State Senator Sue Crawford (District 45, Bellevue and Sarpy County) introduced LB 429, a bill to expand the Taxpayer Transparency Act to include transparency for government contracts. Nebraska already requires all spending and taxes to be publically available and searchable.
“There is a quote above the north entrance to the State Capitol which states, ‘The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.’ This bill will provide citizens an additional tool for that vigilance. Citizens will be able to monitor and review state contracts from any computer or mobile device with internet access.
“LB 429 allows citizens to see how their money is spent when government contracts with other parties to do the work. The public posting of contracts will allow citizens to really see how the money is spent, who gets the contracts and what they are asked to do with the money.
“This legislation requires meaningful transparency, the website NebraskaSpending.gov provides an effective tool to access the information. Under the leadership of Treasurer Don Stenberg, our state’s transparency score has improved from a D to a B grade, according to the latest ratings released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group,” Sen. Crawford said.
“I strongly support this legislation. Obtaining copies of state contracts today is a difficult, bureaucratic process for our citizens. We have the technology to make these contracts easily accessible online so that Nebraska taxpayers can easily see exactly how their tax dollars are being spent. This legislation will make sure that that will happen,” State Treasurer Don Stenberg said.
“This bill is a major step toward greater transparency in the operation of state government. With passage of the bill, Nebraska taxpayers will have ready access to web-based copies of all contracts involving tax expenditures." Said Senator Bill Avery (District 28, Lincoln), a cosponsor of the bill.
“As a co-sponsor of the original Taxpayer Transparency Act, I am fully supportive of the proposed expansion to include state contracts,” said Senator Health Mello (District 5, South Omaha), Chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.
“With more than $2 billion being spent on state contracts annually, Nebraskans need to be able to check for themselves that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. LB 429 is a logical step to make this information readily available to the public,” Mello said.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BY SEN. CRAWFORD’S OFFICE: January 23, 2012