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Where's the Transparency

Tim Hoefer of Empire Center for Public Policy is quoted in December 24 Artvoice as saying “I often make the analogy between a taxpayer and local government and a stockholder in a company: you wouldn’t deny a stockholder the ability to come in and look through the books, nor should you a taxpayer.” Is he serious? The ability of a stockholder to “look through the books” of the company in which he or she has invested is exponentially less than zero. The information made public is so condensed as to be meaningless to the uninitiated. That assertion essentially wipes out his credibility for anything else. Sure, local governments could be more forthcoming in making financial information available. Annual independent auditors reports could be scanned in and made available to those interested via website. School districts’ annual Form ST-3 and local governments’ equivalents could be made available by the state via website links or directly. Those things are public information but you usually have to personally view them. Town of Lancaster does a pretty good job of such financial disclosure.

Richard Ehlers, Clarence

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