Monday, June 20, 2011

Governor and Legislature: Be More Open on Budget

There is bickering between the Governor and the GOP Legislative Leadership about what has been made public and what has not about budget figures and proposals.  I thought I would offer some advice .

A great number of Minnesotans who I talk with believe state and local government is somewhat or very secretive.  The Governor and GOP leaders have tried to be open and transparent about the numbers and proposals, but it is not resonating or getting to the public.  Each side is playing the politics of disclosure.  I hear from some people that both sides have a slight case of self-righteousness and contemptuous arrogance.  Here are some suggestions:

1. The Governor and GOP Leadership release "all" public data to their approaches to the budget.

2. Release "all" public data that has been exchanged between the Governor and the Legislature, including leadership on the budget issue since end of session.
   
3.With the Governor and the Legislative Leadership there has been staff work to develop their views, this data should also be made public.
   
Granted the Legislature is not under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act as the Governor is, but they should be transparent and open as to how they came to their conclusions.  For the Governor, the office is under Data Practices, but they may have retained a view my understanding is from the previous Governor that electronic communications can be destroyed such as e-mails, memos, position papers, and analysis documents, almost immediately.  I hope this is not true.

The public will not be able to see the what?, who?, where?, when?, and why? of how we came to this budget juxtaposition in the first place if documents are destroyed or not released.

Whatever the solutions are for the budget it is important they have the support of the public and we can live with them and "know" how the resolution came about.

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