Their turn: State has made strides in transparency

Paul Gessing is president of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Foundation. Here’s what he says about transparency in government:

“Over the past couple years New Mexico state government has made grade strides toward increased transparency. Citizens can now watch or listen to floor sessions and both Houses now have floor votes online. Even better, this session, legislation setting up New Mexico’s own “Sunshine Portal” became law. This portal will put convenient and freely accessible information about government finances at the citizens’ fingertips.

The Rio Grande Foundation applauds the bipartisan effort of the Legislature and commends organizations like Foundation for Open Government for the valuable role this organization plays in furthering the important issue of government transparency.

“We, too, have enjoyed working to make government more accountable to New Mexico’s taxpayers with the launch of our legislative tracking site, NewMexicoVotes.org, and our new government spending site that is soon to launch.

“But there is much still to be done in this state. (We have) a long way to go before it actually enters the 21st century and joins the rest of the country in being truly progressive on government transparency.

“The government was created to serve its citizens. Rather than stonewalling and making it difficult for citizens to find out what their elected officials are doing with their money, our elected leaders should enlist engaged citizens in efforts to squeeze waste, fraud, and abuse out of state and local government.”