Opinion

Financial transparency needed now!

How do you pay for goods and services that you order and receive?

How does your company or organization pay for the goods and services needed to operate?

And, how do you – and your business – handle donations and appropriate gifting to an individual, group, or organization?

All of us use either one or a combination of the following methods to transfer payment or funds: Cash – Check – Debit Card – Credit Card – Bank Transfer – Online Electronic Transfer – Etc.

Each of these methods of payment or transfer offer varying degrees of transaction traceability; and, some, more than others, will facilitate the bookkeeping and accounting requirements that should be practiced by all responsible persons including those in businesses, organizations, and government entities.

At the same time, most – but not all – of the various entities are subject to audit – internal or external – and sometimes both.

For example, partners review the books; stockholders receive regular reports, and can attend quarterly and annual meetings to ask questions.  Gadfly attendees aside, pointed questions at such public gatherings serve well the interests of other stockholders, interested observers, and even the general public.

But, accountability in – and of – government is sorely lacking.

If we want to install effective accountability in government, the first order of action to is to instill transparency in all systems and processes regarding expenditures.

And, the time to so is now.

Politicians and bureaucrats in all levels of government have been and continue to spend like the proverbial “drunken sailor.”  Of course, the incumbent political class is spending ‘Other People’s Money’ – not their own.  So, it should surprise no one that taxpayer money is poured out frivolously?

What responsible citizens and taxpayers need is a full accounting of what has been spent, and what is currently being spent.

Such a full accounting will bring real transparency to the spending problems – including excessive borrowing and accumulating debt – by government at all levels: local, state and federal.

In that way, every citizen taxpayer, especially those who are motivated to seek the financial facts, would be able to learn the details needed to make informed judgments about spending cessation and cuts, program closures, and interim priorities to restore fiscal sanity in government.

What needs to be done now to enable America’s Citizens to access the detail necessary for such a full accounting?

Establish an online database of all expenditures capturing every payment and transfer to any business, organization, public authority, or person that is issued by each respective level of government be it a payment for goods or services received, a program payout, subsidy, grant, etc.

How can citizens set the ball in motion to implement the needed online database?

Here’s one way.

It’s Commitment Item Number 3 – spelled out in an excerpt from ‘C.A.P.’ – the Candidate Accountability Project – a program instituted by Citizens For Change through its Center for Public Policy Initiatives.

Note the following excerpt is from Commitment Statement text crafted for both State Senators and State Representatives.

“I will propose, support, and vote for priority legislation that requires: transparency in state and local spending with prompt complete online posting of all state and local expenditures; and, both fixed and random independent external audits.”

Transparency in government can be real only when fact based information and data is available to all citizens.  Those paying the taxes would likely invest a lot of time online.

Individuals elected to office, and bureaucrats at every level of government, must do what citizens require of them as paid public servants.  The online database of all expenditures is essential in order for taxpaying citizens to be able to thoughtfully review and determine what is right and appropriate, as well as what may be inappropriate and wrong; or perhaps no longer supportable about past and current expenditures as future budgets are developed and authorized moving forward.

Timely, complete financial transparency must be implemented now.

Author’s Note: The excerpt noted above is one item among 10 specific items developed for state legislators by a volunteer team of concerned citizens – sufficiently concerned to invest their time, focus, and personal efforts to make the Candidate Accountability Project a reality.

Commitment statements have also been completed for other offices including: Governor, Lt Governor, Treasurer and other statewide positions as well as U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator.

Readers who would like to know more about the Candidate Accountability Project may use the contact information below.  Or, go online to www.CFC.us to sign the Declaration of Independence.  All online signers will be automatically briefed about C.A.P.

Richard Olivastro is president of Olivastro Communications; a professional member of the National Speakers Association; and, founder of Citizens For Change (www.CFC.us). He can be reached via email: RichOlivastro@gmail.com; telephone: 877.RichSpeaks. Sign the Declaration of Independence here.