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Taxpayer Group Applauds Washington State for Passing Spending Transparency Legislation

by Pete Sepp / /

(Alexandria, Va.) -- Enactment of a bill Tuesday opening up state government spending to public scrutiny puts Washington State in the center of the dynamic "Google Government" movement, according to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has more than 10,800 members in the state and 362,000 nationwide. With the passage of Senate Bill 6818 and its enactment through the Governor's signature, Washington is among nearly a dozen states that have opened up their books to taxpayers online.

"Washington now joins several others in the belief that transparency is vital to good governance," NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said. "These tools to evaluate spending programs can build more honest and responsible budgeting."

The Washington plan is modeled after federal legislation enacted last year, cosponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL). The law has ordered the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to construct an Internet destination (www.USASpending.gov) for the general public to track the flow of federal grant and contract disbursements.

Moylan also praised the Legislature for strengthening the bill through the legislative process. "All too often, the amendment process is used as a way to weaken legislation, but the House and Senate deserve credit for using it to strengthen transparency requirements instead," he said.

Washington represents yet another victory for the "Show Me the Spending? coalition, which NTU created last year in order to pass similar legislation in all 50 states. Two groups that were particularly instrumental to raising the visibility of this reform, the Washington Policy Center and the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, are partners in the 23-member coalition, located at www.showmethespending.org.

"Accountability in government is not a left or right issue -- it's a right or wrong issue," Moylan concluded. "Washington's namesake would be proud that more than 200 years after his death, the state has taken this revolutionary step."

The 362,000-member NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen group 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.

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