Happy National Sunshine Week!

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The Advocate got it right. In today’s edition, the editorial board published a piece entitled “Let the Sun Shine In,” a call for total transparency in federal and state government. Their appeal comes in light of the National Sunshine Week, held annually March 15 to March 21, which was established to shed light on the need for transparency on the federal, state and local levels.

While lauding Governor Jindal’s steps towards transparency through LaTrac, the board also calls for further disclosure, as the site is limited as to how in-depth the reports are. The phrase “SUMMARY DATA ONLY” means that they will report a dollar figure in a category, i.e. Office Supplies, but not tell the viewer where these items were bought or what they were. Certainly, we applaud the Governor’s efforts at transparency, as it is certainly better than the behind-closed-doors policies of previous administrations, or even the federal government.

President Obama campaigned on government reforms that included complete transparency. He promised online, searchable budgets and legislation that would offer citizens the opportunity to scrutinize government activity. In fact, as Senator he even co-sponsored the Federal Funding and Transparency Act of 2006.

But in his rush to push colossal spending bills for supposed economic recovery, Obama gave taxpayers less than two days to review the lengthy legislation. Though some would argue that transparency is a luxury that can be pushed aside in times of crisis, it is a right, not a privilege, for Americans to see how their money is spent and to hold their leaders accountable.