On Wednesday, Ohio repeated as national champions in government transparency.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) gave Ohio’s Treasurer Josh Mandel the top spot in its ranking of state government transparency for the second straight year. Ohio received a perfect score thanks to the cutting edge Ohio Checkbook. The Treasurer deserves another round of applause for continuing to raise the bar on government transparency and serving as an example for the other 49 states.
The Buckeye Institute is proud to have played a role helping Treasurer Mandel pursue this important initiative. Treasurer Mandel said in his press conference today, “The Buckeye Institute has been a terrific partner on this transparency initiative. They were pioneers in this space well before I was doing it, and continue to be today.”
Of course, it was not clear when Buckeye started our public salary databases and transparency project six years ago whether there would be appetite among Ohioans, let alone among state officials. After nearly 13.5 million searches of The Buckeye Institute’s database, we are pleased that Treasurer Mandel has not only taken up and championed this cause, but has gone even further in leading the nation by setting the gold standard for other states to emulate.
What once was a small dream of The Buckeye Institute to empower Ohio taxpayers is now a reality. Mandel’s Ohio Checkbook not only looks at all state expenditures, but is also adding local governments’ checkbooks to its online database in an unprecedented single, one-stop shop of such public data.
Treasurer Mandel’s goal is to get ALL Ohio local governments’ spending posted online and Buckeye will continue to work with his office to achieve full participation.
Given the fear mongering raised by too many local government officials over what they claim are draconian cuts by the state, local government transparency cannot come soon enough. As Buckeye’s Statehouse Liaison and Policy Analyst, Greg R. Lawson, wrote this past weekend in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “…instead of falling revenues, most local communities have seen overall local revenues rise.”
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once noted that, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” The Buckeye Institute stands proudly with Treasurer Mandel and all advocates of government transparency and accountability to shine the disinfecting sunlight into every corner of Ohio government spending.
Founded in 1989, The Buckeye Institute is an independent research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to advance free-market public policy in the states.