Should we pursue this in a bipartisan fashion?

I’ve got a question. I was at a conference of right of center online activists this weekend. I hope you won’t grow jaded on that point and ignore the idea that came out of the conference.

The folks there all discussed what could be some bipartisan issues and one was transparency of government.

So, I’m wondering what you guys think of the following idea as a project at the state and local level. For technical reasons, I’d say for local governments with populations of 50,000 or more people.

How about a law putting government checkbooks online? Seriously, the odds are all transactions are already being entered into a computer somewhere, so why not put those daily expenditures and deposits online? Let every citizen see how much money is going to Dunkin Donuts and Staples and Office Depot, etc., etc., etc. Let every citizen see the deposits of tax receipts, fees, etc.

Peach Pundit Readers, what say you on this idea?


  1. joe says:

    While I think that transparency in government is a great idea, I am too much of a cynic to believe that city/county governments would allow this to pass. There would be entirely too much pressure brought for this to have a chance.

  2. eburke says:

    I believe this would be good for accountability and should also apply to every state agency and to each body of the General Assembly. Often the “good government” laws are passed to make locals accountable but they don’t apply to the state who spends a lot more of my tax money than the City, County and School Board combined.

  3. the simpsons says:

    Fabulous Idea. However, if people learn how to do open records requests, you can do it yourself and get it publicized.

    Also, the Georgia State Auditors Office has some great information on various agencies. Take a look see. To some its boring info, but I like to take a peak and see what is being spent.

  4. I like it. Some states do it already…Texas I think is one. With today’s technology it would not be all that hard to do. The public would have to demand it.

  5. BubbaRich says:

    I like the idea, but I can see a few problems with it, that the post above hints at. I’m not sure knee-jerk taxpayer advocates are the best judges of the best way for government offices to do business. Do I really want to hear Boortz go on and on about how many staples Fulton County is using?

    On the other hand, I think reasonable, rational public input would be useful and good for government. Just not a bunch of pointless whining about an office buying Krispy Kremes for a bunch of underpaid employees once a week.

  6. juliobarrios says:

    I honestly don’t think the City of Atlanta could handle something like this. Have you ever seen their website? Try to find how many employees are on the payroll or some basic budget information.

    They are $70 million short this year and the mayor is blaming a good bit of it on accounting.

  7. Benita says:

    Forgive me for plugging the upcoming Georgia Public Policy Foundation Friday Facts: “Bemoaning the lack of transparency of city government, The Augusta Chronicle notes in an editorial: ‘They’re our records. Your records. The public’s records. What exactly is it that seeps into the bureaucratic water that makes government officials think that records are their property? They’re not. They are merely the keepers of those records. And any attempt to shield these documents from public scrutiny is going to be seen — correctly or not — as an attempt to hide possible wrongdoing or even incompetence.’” Read the editorial at

  8. Tea Party says:

    The City of Doraville HAD its expenses listed in its’ minutes online.

    At some point, years ago,the expenses were no longer in the minutes, thus, no longer online.

    To the extent this may help shape how a pending city of Dunwoody may evolve, THIS SHOULD BE MANADATORY within the context of any new city.

    The fact that Development Authorities were going to exempt themsaleves from basic disclosure is ‘two steps backward’. Unless the public is hurt by disclosure, in the case of announcing pending acquisitions that would cause a price to increase, its’ OUR money and WE should be able to know.

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