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Our View: Tryon's bill pushes up transparency

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CST

Finding data from state government agencies can be a pain.

It’s exacerbated when it takes months to even appear.

State Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, is taking responsibility to ease that pain with House Bill 1040.

The bill moves the responsibility for posting data to the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal to the governor’s office, along with mandating all state departments to come up with a plan to more quickly get data posted and updated.

That information includes state employees’ pay, state agency expenses and contracts and local governments’ annual finance reports. The portal was created five years ago through another Tryon bill, after the arrest and impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

“My original version was, when you write a check, it’s put online. When there’s a contract that’s executed, it’s put online. Not in five months, but as soon as possible. I think what’s happening is there has not been consistent posting requirements,” Tryon told the Northwest Herald.

We agree, and it’s a bill we support. More accountability, more transparency and an expedited process are all worthwhile and necessary endeavors on behalf of Illinois taxpayers.

Tryon wasn’t the only local representative to get involved in this, either. State Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, was chief co-sponsor in the House, and Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, was its chief sponsor in the Senate, which makes it nice to see at least a handful of locals pushing through reform when it comes to government accountability.

But we don’t want this bill to go to waste, either. If government is going to be more accountable, taxpayers should take advantage of it. Go to www.accountability.illinois.gov and spend some time there. Educate yourself on expenses and finances and what your money is up to in Illinois.

With this bill, it will make it that much easier for you.

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