Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kentucky budget needs your input

The Wall Street Journal has it right. State budgets, including Kentucky's, will probably get worse before they get better.

Kentuckians are as bad as anyone else about hating pork unless it is their own. We can buy a little time for weaning ourselves off pork if we can get serious immediately about government spending transparency. When we can all see exactly where each public dollar is going, we can agree in larger numbers about where to cut.

Rep. Jim DeCesare had been a leader on spending transparency, but as a member of the minority party in the House he hasn't been able to force the issue. Sen. Damon Thayer is working on a transparency bill for the 2010 General Assembly. That should be key to getting a handle on where the money is going. Secretary of State Trey Grayson has already put his reputation on the line to champion spending transparency. His rapidly increasing profile can help a lot.

Our education budget deserves more than the lip service it has gotten for years. Unaccountable bureaucrats have shown no willingness to self-regulate with our money. Tell your friends and neighbors that now is the time to force school districts and the Kentucky Department of Education to post all their expenditures to the internet in real time.

We may get some temporary budget cuts in the upcoming special session. But in order to keep falling back into this same trap we need a fully-informed discussion about fiscal priorities and we can't do that until we have spending data readily available to everyone.