Open the state's books | Arkansas Blog

Open the state's books

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An extensive article in the Democrat-Gazette this morning on a Republican push for a useful on-line database of state spending.

Good idea. Overdue. Probably won't be as expensive as reluctant officials fear. The cost is a relative pittance in any case. Just copy the best system of the many states that already have them.

One asterisk: I'll believe the Republican push for total transparency if it includes maximum openness about state corporate welfare payments — the grants, subsidies and credits extended by taxpayers in the name of free enterprise. Though the welfare is public money, recipients have never much cottoned to openness. Some hard-eyed auditing (also readily accessible on-line) of deliverance of promises made in return for state handouts is another current lack in our corporate welfare system.

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