Ensuring Our Government is Responsive, Transparent, and Accountable
Our ability to work with small businesses and our schools to build an economy that works for working people is only possible if the people have the ability to fully participate in our democracy. House Democrats have taken the lead on supporting legislation to open up the books, and make sure taxpayers can see every dollar that’s being spent by our government. Moving forward, we propose four solutions that will ensure our government is responsive, transparent, and accountable:
- Create a Transportation Oversight Board
- Hold Everyone who Receives State Funds Accountable to Specific Benchmarks
- Require the Executive Branch to Share Data with the Legislative Branch in a Timely Fashion
- Make Participating in the Legislative Process Easier
Solution: Create a Transportation Oversight Board
We must rebuild our aging infrastructure. But we are not going to give a blank check to the Department of Transportation to build whatever projects they feel like. Before we look at any new transportation funding, the new Transportation Oversight Board must conduct a public cost-benefit analysis, using criteria such as safety, congestion mitigation, environmental quality and economic development. That analysis must include an explanation of the long-term benefit to the community and the number of jobs that will be created.
Solution: Hold Everyone who Receives State Funds Accountable to Specific Benchmarks
Every state agency, nonprofit organization, or state contractor that receives money from the state should be held accountable. Beginning in 2010, the Results Based Accountability subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee began working with state agencies to identify objectives and how to measure success. Although we have made progress in certain departments, we need to build these benchmarks into the actual budget document.
Solution: Require the Executive Branch to Share Data with the Legislative Branch in a Timely Fashion
This should be self-evident. However, when our non-partisan staff requires information of the executive branch for the purposes of analyzing the potential cost or savings connected to any proposal, too often they are unable to get the most recent information in a timely fashion. House Democrats will work to pass legislation that provides our non-partisan legislative staff with the tools they need to conduct their analyses and legislators with good information upon which to base their decisions.
solution: Make Participating in the Legislative Process Easier
When Representative Brendan Sharkey became Speaker, he encouraged all of the legislative committees to hold at least one public hearing off-site in order to allow for more citizen participation. We are going to continue that practice.
We are going to ensure that information about public hearings and committee meetings are accessible and easy to understand even if you are not a lobbyist or a capitol insider. This will include working to hold some of the public hearings online and provide more detailed information online using less jargon.