Tuesday, 06 February 2018 13:53

Louisiana business coalition backs government transparency, LouisianaCheckbook.com

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wag check 5Oped by Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, LABI
 
Today, coalition members from local chambers of commerce, civic organizations and business associations across the state came together to announce a campaign to open the books on government spending in Louisiana. 

 

The “LouisianaCheckbook.com” (www.louisianacheckbook.com) movement is fueled by a growing group of citizens and taxpayers who want to see common-sense transparency and accountability for every tax dollar in Louisiana. The concept is a searchable government watchdog website that allows citizens to track and investigate spending by the state, local governments, school districts, the courts and other entities. This model has been implemented successfully in a number of other states, with national recognition for the pioneering “OhioCheckbook.com.”

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An enhanced transparency website has become a key priority for many in the Legislature and is now slated to be a critical topic in the 2018 legislative session. If implemented, LouisianaCheckbook.com would give Louisiana citizens the access they deserve to information on how their tax dollars are being spent so they can be fully engaged in understanding proposed policy and budget changes, and that’s why a diverse group of state leaders have come together to support its implementation.
 
What LouisianaCheckbook.com would do:
 
• Inform and educate Louisianans by providing a user-friendly interface for accessing information on how public funds are spent.
• Expand on existing government transparency to provide spending data on every tax dollar in Louisiana, at all levels of government, all in one place.
• Display data and trends on state and local government spending, tax revenue, debt obligations, public salaries, and government contracts. Pelican Institute for Public Policy CEO Daniel Erspamer stated, “If the Legislature listens to the people and makes LouisianaCheckbook.com a reality, citizens will have access to information about every dollar spent by government in Louisiana, so they’ll have a meaningful way to hold elected officials accountable to how their tax dollars are used.”
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) president and CEO Stephen Waguespack stated, “This diverse, growing coalition is a testament to the urgency of this situation. Louisiana state government spends more each year, yet we as Louisianans continue to see the same challenges we have faced for generations. It is time to let taxpayers see exactly where their tax dollars are being spent at all levels of government. The infusion of transparency provided by the implementation of LouisianaCheckbook.com is a reform that should appeal to everyone and break through the partisan fighting we see too often today.”
 
"Transparency in government often generates government accountability," said Deborah Randolph, President, Central LA Regional Chamber of Commerce. "That is why LouisianaCheckbook.com will be good for the taxpayers of our state."
 
Nick Castjohn, President of Louisiana Home Builders Association (LHBA) explained, “As our elected officials continue to address the fiscal woes facing Louisiana, we at the LHBA urge our officials to be much more open and transparent when considering additional revenue measures that impact the citizenry. In an effort to educate the public, we urge our officials to utilize transparent, easily accessible, and contemporary mediums, such as the internet, to help inform and educate the public as to how and where their tax dollars are being spent and to engage public participation in the process. We often hear about how much of the budget is nondiscretionary and we at LHBA feel this development will help ensure that government listens and is accountable to the taxpayers and will increase an equitable solution that helps us as a state regain control of the budgetary process.”
John Kay, State Director of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Louisiana stated, “LouisianaCheckbook.com must become a reality. This should be a no-brainer for the Legislature and governor. A government that listens and is accountable to people is something that we should all be able to get on board with. We’re happy to see increasing momentum in Baton Rouge and will put the full weight of this coalition and AFP behind getting this done. Government transparency isn’t a partisan issue. By supporting this legislation, politicians across the state could only stand to benefit by showing they care about their constituents and how their hard-earned money is spent.”
 
Coalition members include:
Americans for Prosperity
Associated Builders and Contractors of Louisiana
Baton Rouge Area Chamber
Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce
Chamber Southwest Louisiana
Coalition for Common Sense
Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Jefferson Business Council
Jefferson Chamber of Commerce
Louisiana Ammonia Producers
Louisiana Association of Business and Industry
Louisiana Chemical Association
Louisiana Home Builders Association
Louisiana Manufactured Housing Association
Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association
Louisiana Oil and Gas Association
Louisiana Oil Marketers Convenience Store Association
Louisiana Pulp and Paper Association
Louisiana Realtors
Louisiana Restaurant Association
Louisiana Retailers Association
New Orleans Business Alliance
National Federation of Independent Business
One Acadiana
Pelican Institute for Public Policy
River Region Chamber of Commerce
Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants
Solutions through Science
West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce
 
The coalition points to their newly launched website for more information and to sign on to a petition for transparency in government spending.  
To join the growing coalition contact:
Camille Conaway
LABI Senior Vice President
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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