GOP Leads Charge on Transparency

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

Transparency Bill Clears House

The House of Representatives moved toward increased transparency in government spending this week with the passage of HF 801.

HF 801 requires by January 1, 2011 DAS to create a searchable budget database. The budget database shall include the expenditure of funds received through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

The searchable database shall be at not cost to the public and shall include all of the following:

  • Within the confidentially provisions, the database shall provide the identity of the entity or recipient of state expenditures.
  • Amount of annual revenues and expenditures for each agency’s appropriations and funds.
  • Descriptive purpose for the funding or expenditure.
  • Performance results associated with the agency’s activities.
  • Past performance results associated with the agency’s activities.
  • State audits or reports relating to the entity or receipt of state funds, the budget programs or activities or agency.
  • Any other relevant information specified by the director.

The bill also requires the website to also provide a listing and description of special interest tax credits claimed for the individual income tax, corporate income tax, franchise tax, and insurance premiums tax. The bill then defines special interest tax credits. The cost of the tax credit is required to also be listed.

The bill does not address the spending side of things they also address transparency in taxation. It requires DAS by January 1, 2010 in consultation with the Department of Revenue to make a searchable database of all tax rates for the state for each taxing jurisdiction. The website is to also include a geographical tax rate map and individual tax rate calculator.

The following Republican amendments were added to the bill to ensure the public gets the best information possible:

  • Requiring additional information be provided regarding the Iowa Power Fund similar to what is required of the Grow Iowa Values Fund.
  • Require the searchable database include information related to intradepartmental transfers as well as information related to transfers from one department to another made by the Governor.
  • Require the schedule 6 documents be a part of the searchable database website.

The bill will now go to the Senate where amendments are expected to be added. Then the House will get another opportunity to provide their input.