Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Buying the cow when the milk could be free

Kentucky taxpayers are still paying lots of money for local governments to buy newspaper advertising space to display public notices. Sounds pretty 20th century to me.

And at first blush it seems the Kentucky Press Association, the state's newspaper trade association agrees. They are working to put all the state's public notices online and available to the public for free (click to expand):

But when anyone starts talking about repealing the law that requires local governments to purchase newspaper advertising, the newspaper folks go ballistic. David Thompson, executive director of the Kentucky Press Association said:
"A part of the public notice law allows smaller cities to mail their notices by first class mail, if the city can show it’s cheaper than publishing in the local newspaper. In the 22 years that’s been part of the law, not one single agency has found it cheaper to mail a notice by first class than by newspaper publication."

Well no kidding! Fortunately, there's this little thing called the internet that has come along in the last few years. It's much cheaper than sending out individual letters or buying expensive newspaper advertising.

The public notices law should be changed to stop requiring governments to buy advertising and instead require them to post public notices and all budget and spending data online.