Good News and Bad News for Missouri’s Sunshine Law Applications
Recently, the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group ranked the states on issues of transparency and spending openness. Missouri received a “B” in the report, which only assigned one “A,” so I guess we can be pretty proud of the “B.” Kentucky got the only “A,” which is good for them because I only remember one other thing for which Kentucky was considered a leader.
This ranking is great news for our state government, but openness in local government is still an issue. A recent state audit, detailed here at OzarksFirst.com, determined that local governments in Missouri are still committing numerous Sunshine Law violations. My own selfish goals are best summed up by this ranking from the Sunshine Review in their study of local government transparency in Missouri:
Missouri’s counties received an “F,” a reflection of the fact that 61 of the state’s 114 counties have no Website.
I realize that I am one of a very small number of people for whom researching Missouri county and city budgets is a big part of their job. However, it would be very inexpensive for every Missouri city and county to be required to post their budgets online. It does not even have to involve their own website — they could just email the annual budget document to the state auditor’s office, to be hosted there. That would be much better for open government in Missouri.