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Put All State Documents Online!

Daily Herald March 28, 2010
Put All State Documents Online!
The Herald News

Even though Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski lost in the primary, one of his ideas needs to be implemented.

Andrzejewski advocated the publishing online of all state employee salaries, licenses, federal grants and funding and also contracts.

In fact, Andrzejewski wanted all public state documents to be available on the Internet, including the state’s check register as is done in Florida.

His point was why should the people have to go through the gatekeeping concept of filing Freedom of Information requests for public materials when such items could easily be placed online.

With a $13 billion deficit and nearly $60 billion in spending annually, the Illinois government should be more transparent, so people have an understanding as to what the state spends and how it got into such a financial mess.

Andrzejewski proposed that if he became governor, he would issue an executive order to achieve such transparency to the public. If that’s the case, then Gov. Pat Quinn could make such an order now.

To Quinn’s credit, he has placed his entire budget proposal on the Internet, although the document still is cumbersome and not really user-friendly.

But other items need to be published. They include construction contracts, individual consultant fees, tax credits for individuals and businesses, and revocations and suspensions of registration and professional licenses.

Andrzejewski’s idea is not new. Six states provide public spending information online — Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.

Both Quinn and his opponent, Republican Bill Brady of Bloomington, should state their support for placing all public state documents on the Internet.

Unfortunately, an executive order may not be enough. A future governor could quietly rescind such an order and take items off the Internet that could be politically embarrassing.

Instead, the state House and Senate should approve legislation making the online display of all public state documents into law.

By turning this matter into a state statute, no single person could take away from the people access to such materials.

And speaking of stripping access of documents from the people …

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