Some Good News from Santa Fe

While many are disappointed with the lack of a budget agreement during the 30-day legislative session — and I’m disappointed that both Houses and Richardson seem all too willing to raise taxes — the good news is that open government saw a few big successes this session. Of note is that the House of Representatives is now putting votes up on its website.

Bigger still in terms of empowering citizens and concerned taxpayers is the passage in both houses of SB 95 which would create a “Sunshine Portal” for more open government. Pending the Governor’s signature (you can influence that by contacting him), a “Sunshine Portal” will be created. This will include the names of all exempt employees, their title, and salary on a public, easily viewed on-line website.

SB 195, the Sunshine Portal Transparency Act was sponsored by Senator Sander Rue.

Positions and salaries of all other state employees, but not their names, would be released if SB 195 becomes law.

Other items included on the site are:

• state cash balances by account or fund;
• monthly summaries of the state’s investment accounts under the control of the State Investment Council;
• annual operating budgets for each state agency with monthly expenditures by category;
• state agency contracts with a total value of more than $20,000, naming both the recipients and purposes of the contracts;

This website will give average citizens additional tools to see that their money is being spent as efficiently as possible.