2013 Legislature: Testimony in favor of education transparency bill

Testimony given by Derek Monson before the Senate Education Committee on Monday:

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My name is Derek Monson and I am Director of Policy with Sutherland Institute. I am here to speak in favor of SB 128.

In the broad context, while this bill is about transparency, what that means is it is really about good representative government.  Without access to information, there is no transparency. Without transparency you do not have good representative government, because people do not know how to make decisions concerning their elected officials.

Concerning the particulars of the legislation, which are important, I would suggest that you trust the Utah Transparency Advisory Board, which is tasked with administering the Utah Public Finance Website and will be tasked with getting this information to the public. They have done a spectacular job of taking complex data with a lot of intricate coding, accounting rules, etc., and making it public in a way that people can get a basic understanding of what is going on with their tax dollars; and if not, they can call someone to find out. The same thing will happen here.

We recommend you support SB 128 as a “step in the right direction” toward increased transparency in public school finances.  Thank you.

The Senate Education Committee approved the bill, which will go to the Senate floor next. You can find more coverage of this bill here in The Salt Lake Tribune and here in the Deseret News.

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