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Taxpayer Group Asks, "What's to Hide?" after Rounds's Veto of Budget Transparency Bill
For Immediate Release March 18, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- When he vetoed a bill that could have opened state government spending to public scrutiny, South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds squandered a chance to put his state on the cutting edge of the "Google Government" movement. That's the word from the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has more than 1,200 members in South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State could have joined eight others, including neighboring Minnesota and Nebraska, in bringing budget transparency to taxpayers online.
"If South Dakota's government refuses to tear down the walls around its spending information, then citizens have to wonder how much waste is being hidden behind them," NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said. "The Governor should stop these political games and act to remove these barriers."
Instead of letting the sun shine on state spending, Governor Rounds chose to veto HB 1233, which would have established a comprehensive searchable database cataloging a wide variety of state expenditures. Though the House voted overwhelmingly to override the Governor's veto, the Senate failed to do the same by a razor-thin, two-vote margin.
Governor Rounds cited "flaws" -- such as HB 1233's purported $600,000 cost -- for his decision to nix the legislation. Though many transparency advocates contended that this estimate was high given the rudimentary technology involved, Moylan noted that "Missouri established its own spending database with existing revenues, so there's little reason to believe that the minimal cost associated with the bill was sufficient for a veto."
South Dakota represents yet another stop on the march of the "Show Me the Spending" coalition, which is dedicated to passing similar legislation in all 50 states. NTU spearheads the 23-member coalition, located at www.showmethespending.org.
"If Governor Rounds truly supports transparency in state government spending, we await his plan to provide it to the hard-working folks that pay his salary," Moylan concluded. "Failure to come up with a blueprint of his own will prove once and for all that he's more interested in keeping taxpayers in the dark."
NTU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels.Note: For further details on the "Google Government" movement, visit www.showmethespending.org or www.ntu.org.