Face the State reports:
With the 2009 legislative session jumping into full swing, Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to deliver his State of the State speech today where it is expected he will introduce his plan for a more transparent government by proposing to make the state budget available online. The plan is just the latest is a string of instances where the Democrat has utilized Republican ideas to suggest changes to state law.
Government transparency has been a priority for Republican lawmakers in recent sessions. Face the State has obtained a copy of draft legislation (PDF) that Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, and Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, were planning to introduce this session to make the itemized state budget available online, but which Ritter may enforce by executive order instead.
This is a great, great idea that deserves broad support.
Politically, this is a great move for Ritter. As Face the State observes, this is a Republican idea. But the Democrats have won here by accommodating some of the better Republican ideas and repudiating the worst ones (regarding social policy). In some cases, it took the Democrats to pass reforms that Republicans long opposed, such as permitting Sunday liquor sales, a free-market issue.
Not only the state government but every governmental entity in the state should make its complete budget and spending documents available online. Taxpayers deserve access to this information. If Democrats deliver, they just might prove to Colorado voters that they deserve to remain in charge.