Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good Government Reforms Proposed At the Taxpayer Revolt

Although some reporters tried to label the Taxpayer Revolt as "unfocused" or the group as "eclectic," the fact is there were a number of good government reforms which I put together and included in the program. There is nearly 100% support for these proposals. . These reforms would make our government more transparent, responsive to the people, and accountable, goals that Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians should all be working toward.

1. MORE TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT

· Government contracts and other public documents at state and local level need to be made available on-line
· Campaign contribution reports need to be available on-line.
· Names of government contractors need to be published along with their contributions to elected officials. The possibility of pay to play politics needs to be exposed.
· Stronger open records laws need to be enacted along with stiff penalties for non-compliance.
· A violation of Indiana’s open records and/or open meetings law should also be considered a violation of Indiana’s state ethics laws, subjecting the public official responsible with additional penalties.
· There needs to be stronger enforcement of open meeting requirements, including a crack down on commissions and boards making decisions behind closed doors with the only public meeting being a “dog and pony show" (after the decision has been made) to give the appearance of public input.
2. STRONGER CONFLICT OF INTEREST LAWS

· Enact prohibitions on government officials being employed by local government agencies or contractors serving in executive and legislative bodies that oversee those agencies or contractors.
· Require full disclosure of conflicts of interest and complete recusal from participating in those matters where the government official has a conflict of
interest.
· Require attorneys sitting on local government bodies to report when they have clients with interests before the bodies that they represent and require them to recuse themselves from participation involving those matters.
· Prohibit individuals benefiting from projects entered into by redevelopment commissions and capital improvement board, from sitting on those commissions or boards.
3. REVOLVING DOOR LEGISLATION
· There should be at least a one year cooling off period from serving in state legislature to working as a lobbyist.
· Stronger executive revolving door legislation should be adopted, including reverse executive revolving door provisions addressing people who go from the private sector to the public sector then are involved in privatizing services with their previous employer.
4. LEGISLATION REGULATING PRIVATIZATION CONTRACTS
· Privatization contracts need to include a provision saying that any contractor found to have filed a SLAPP lawsuit will have their contract voided and be forever barred from doing business in the State of Indiana.
· Privatization contracts need to include a provision requiring the contractor to comply with Indiana’s open records law or face fines and possible cancellation of the contract.
· The attorney general needs to be given the responsibility of ensuring state
contractors comply with their privatization contracts.
· Legislation needs to be enacted to give private citizens the authority to act as a private attorney general to enforce privatization contracts, bidding laws and other consumer protection laws when elected and appointed officials fail to do so.
5. MORE PROSECUTION OF WHITE COLLAR CRIME INCLUDING PUBLIC CORRUPTION

· Indiana’s Attorney General needs to provide the county prosecutors the expertise and investigatory resources to prosecute white collar crime, such as mortgage fraud, violations of state bidding laws, etc. Where the Attorney General is lacking in authority, the legislature, needs to give that office the authority needed.
· Attorney General needs to make deputies available for deputization by county prosecutors to prosecute white collar crime in local communities.
· Attorney General needs to be given the power to initiate prosecutions of white collar crimes, including those involving public corruption.
· Prosecutors, state and federal, need to make public corruption and abuses of the public trust a priority.
· Elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, need to encourage President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to support the appointment of a non-partisan U.S. Attorney to the Southern District who will aggressively pursue white collar crime and public corruption.

6. OTHER PENDING LEGISLATIVE ISSUES

· The CIB bailout should be addressed by legislature as a separate legislative proposal and not simply into budget or another bill during conference committee so as to avoid public testimony and scrutiny.
· The General Assembly should not take away the right of the people to vote in referendums on large projects funded by property taxes.
· The General Assembly should continue supporting improvements in Indiana’s open records law, but, not neglect the need to move to a more digital democracy with those records placed on-line where they can be viewed by anyone.

5 comments:

Diana Vice said...

Excellent proposals, Paul!! And by the way, thanks from the bottom of my heart for all your hard work in planning and promoting the rally. Ignore the rhetoric from the armchair quarterbacks.

MarionCountyTaxpayer92 said...

There is a current bill in the Senate that would allow taxpayers in Marion County to have the same voice that every other taxpayer in Indiana has. Marion County is the only county that allows appointed bodies to make tax abatement issues, instead of elected officials. Taxpayers have no voice in Marion County, how does one hold an appointed body accountable??

Senator Lawson, chair of Local Government is refusing to hear the bill because the mayor is against it.

Call Senator Lawson & the Marion County Senators and tell them taxpayers have had enough of free tax abatements given to whoever befriends the mayor.

Senator Lawson 232-9414

Senator Delph 232-9488

Senator Lubbers 232-9466

Senator Merritt 232-9533

Senator Miller 232-9489

Senator Young 232-9517

Senator Waltz 232-9814

Senator Taylor 232-9847

Senator Breaux 232-9461

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Paul, You are a pro. It was great to work with you on this. And you worked every bit as hard as I did.

I'm grateful for all the help we got!

Shorebreak said...

Paul - this post makes it abundantly clear to me why you haven't been promoted or championed by media or party strongholders in your elections bids.

You understand the issues that have consolidated power away from the voters, you see where influence and circumstance leads to corruption and avarice, and you are capable of articulating these issues in a clear and concise manner - enough to make any lawmaker who rejects them appear self-serving at best.

In short, you are a threat to the influence peddlers and those whom they serve. It's inspiring and I thank you for it.

The nature of liberty and representative government requires sustained rebellion against usurpation by private interests. You exemplify that vital, patriotic role.

I know said...

Amen, to Shorebreak!

The only thing he missed was the folks that have gotten filthy rich by the influence peddlers are really the ones that will never let you in any elected or earned position.

They might have to play cards with Mr. Maddoff or Mr. Jack Abramoff !