Sutherland Newsletter – January 10, 2008

1.Mero to Speak on Climate Change at Eagle Forum

Sutherland Institute President Paul T. Mero will be speaking on climate change beginning at 2:10 pm on Saturday, January 19, 2007.  This is all part of the Utah Eagle Forum Annual Convention which will be held in the Free Enterprise Building Auditorium on the Larry Miller Campus of Salt Lake Community College at 9750 South 300 West in Salt Lake City. for more information.


2.Transparency Bill is Step Toward Better Government

A bill supported by the Sutherland Institute would add a new dimension of accountability for the State of Utah by requiring that government financial information be published online.  SB 38: Transparency in Government Finance is good public policy that serves as a quality system of checks and balances.


“History shows us that a free and prosperous Utah requires an informed public and a government committed to act in an ethical and principled manner,” said Lyall J. Swim, director of operations for Sutherland and member of its policy committee.  “SB 38 is an important piece of legislation that statutorily gives citizens the information to function effectively as a government watchdog by shining a bright light on the spending activity of our state and local governments.”


The government website created by SB 38 would allow the public to search all types of financial information by fiscal year, expenditure type, name of agency, payee, date, and/or amount.  While the web site will be administered by the Division of Finance, the Utah Transparency Advisory Board — also a byproduct of the bill — will advise, make recommendations, and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of providing this information on the Internet.


“We all know information is power,” said bill sponsor, Senator Wayne Niederhauser. “As President James Madison said, ‘A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps both.’  It is my hope in Utah that our knowledge will govern our ignorance and I strongly believe this bill is the right step in that regard.”


Currently, there are transparency websites related to government spending already in place or in process in 21 states.