February 5, 2009 By News Report
"It is time Michigan had a Web site that lets taxpayers see where their hard earned money is being spent." -- Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (pictured)
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer, and several State Representatives today called on Governor Jennifer Granholm to commit to legislation which would require the state to make all spending available for review online. Gov. Granholm was also asked to support upcoming legislation that will designate the month of February as "Transparency Month."
"It is time Michigan had a Web site that lets taxpayers see where their hard earned money is being spent," stated Cox. "I am calling on Governor Granholm to commit to making Michigan's government more transparent. Citizens have a right to know how their government is spending their money."
Since early last year, Cox and several legislators have called for more transparency in government. Cox, Elsenheimer, and the current bill sponsors, Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Auburn Hills), Rep. Kim Meltzer (R-Clinton Twp.) and Rep. Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt), noted that Michigan is falling behind the nation on transparency. President Obama cosponsored bi-partisan legislation while in the U.S. Senate that resulted in the creation of the federal transparency Web site, USASpending.gov, and at least 16 other states have transparency sites as well. Cox often cites Missouri's transparency Web site, created in 2007.
Cox said that transparency Web sites would help citizens, the media and even legislators fully understand how Michigan's budget is spent, shedding light on how the state ended the last two years with surpluses of approximately $350 million and $700 million.
Elsenheimer, R-Kewadin, today announced that he became the first state lawmaker to post his office's spending online. "Our entire system of democracy is based on the people's right to an open and transparent government, and residents clearly deserve to know how their money is being spent," said Elsenheimer.
Cox was the first state official to post his spending online on his "Track Your Taxes" page.
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