Small Victories: OMB Budget Includes Allowance For Local Government Inclusion In Spending Database

Earlier this legislative session a bill introduced by Rep. Blair Thoreson requiring local governments to submit their budgets to the state for inclusion on the spending transparency website was defeated with opponents claiming, ludicrously, that such a thing would be too expensive and unnecessary.

Because we all know the taxpayers don’t really like to know how their money is spent, right?

Anyway, good news this morning amid the intra-chamber bickering over property taxes.

“The conference committee on HB1015 [the OMB budget]will include language I offered that political subdivisions may now submit their budgets for inclusion on the OMB website,” Rep. Thoreson said to me in an email. “It doesn’t mandate it, but this is HUGE. It opens the door for what I’ve been working on for two sessions: transparency in local government.”

That is, indeed, good news and it goes hand-in-hand with the property tax battles. What is driving North Dakota’s property tax problem is local spending. The more sunlight we can shine on local spending, the better.

Assuming this language passes, and it appears it will, pressure should be put on local governments to participate.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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