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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Coburn, Dutcher Call for Oklahoma Legislature to Approve State-Level Internet Spending Database

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, and Brandon Dutcher, Vice-President for Policy at the Oklahoma Council for Public Affairs, have an excellent piece in The Daily Oklahoman calling for the state legislature in the Sooner State to create a google-like Internet database of state spending.

Sound familiar? It should because Coburn and Dutcher are talking about the same kind of database for Oklahomans as federal taxpayers will have in a few years as a result of Coburn-Obama, the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.

Said Coburn and Dutcher:

"In applauding the bill's passage, The Oklahoman editorialized that 'Sunshine and accountability are wonderful things in the hands of voters.' Indeed, as Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., observed, 'It was a bill that just made so much intuitive sense that no one could understand how Congress could not pass it.' And thanks to an army of bloggers, editorial writers and concerned citizens, Congress did pass it.

"Now it's time to take the idea to NE 23 and Lincoln. Oklahoma taxpayers should be empowered to Google their state tax dollars.

"Many taxpayers are frustrated that the state budget is now $7.1 billion, an all-time high. They may be aware that their tax dollars have paid for things like rooster shows and ghost employees and $100 car washes, but these things are just the tip of the iceberg.

"The Legislature should pass a law requiring the Office of State Finance to set up a searchable Web site modeled after the federal version. Taxpayers deserve to know the name of every recipient of state dollars, as well as the amount received in each of the past 10 years, and an itemized breakdown of each transaction, including the state agency dispensing the money and a description of the purpose of the funding."

I think this qualifies as the beginning of a prairie fire.