Will County should take a look at how open their books haven’t opened?
July 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
How to prevent another Dixon embezzlement? Transparency
The embezzlement and fraud that occurred in Dixon, Illinois is almost impossible to believe. Over $30 million embezzled over 6 years, by a single government employee all from a town that only had an annual average budget of $8 million. While most news outlets focused on the accused’s extravagant lifestyle and lavish hobbies, the more concerning story to me was how did this happen and how do we protect taxpayers in the future.
The answer, in one word: transparency.
Transparency serves as a sort of disinfectant to graft, corruption and fraud. The more access the public has to information, the more responsible government will be.
The State of Illinois has moved swiftly to open access to information. Both watchdog groups and government officials are providing endless streams of data on state contracts, spending and salaries. I believed that it was necessary for taxpayers to have that same type of data available from them for their own hometown. That’s why I worked with House Republican Leader Tom Cross to develop a new transparency initiative to provide taxpayers with even greater insight into how their tax dollars are spent.
The Taxpayer Accountability Transparency Act included:
Expanding the Illinois Transparency Portal (ITAP) to include all taxing bodies, levies and debts; including pension and retiree health care liabilities and government spending in Illinois (House Bill 1555);
Requiring a State Debt Impact Note be prepared on all legislation to tax, spend or generate revenue, such as levies and fees (House Bill 1556);
Creating an Illinois Review Board to evaluate the taxes, spending and debt of each taxing body and require the Board to publish the findings for taxpayer review (House Bill 1557).
Illinois has had too many headlines dealing with fraud and corruption. Now is the time to write a new story on how our state is providing our 13 million residents the tools to be vigilant watchdogs of the public trust.