Accountability: Make Government Accountable and Open to West Virginians
West Virginian taxpayers have the right to know how their money is being spent and assess the return on that investment. Taxpayers have a right to know what is taking place in state government and I invite everyone to participate.
As Secretary of State, I dedicated myself to openness and accountability. As a result of that commitment, the number of online filings for businesses nearly doubled to more than 16,000 in 2010. The tools are readily available and the costs are minimal, but the savings to the taxpayer are significant.
As Governor, I will make government more accountable and accessible through the West Virginia Transparency Initiative, which will:
* Create a one-stop "Sunshine" Portal where any West Virginian can go online to see how every penny of their money is spent. By making government more accountable to the taxpayer, we can move our economy forward through innovation, job creation and lower taxes.
* Task government offices, including legislators, executive offices and public corporations, with making contracts, procurement processes and budgets available online in a searchable, exportable format.
* Make all grants and economic development initiatives, including tax credits and cuts, available in a searchable database. Additional information will be available to assist business owners, manufacturers and others to become eligible and apply for such programs.
* Make the Innovation 2020 Commission's strategic planning process available for public review. To ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely and to encourage public input, goals and priorities will be clearly defined and regular audits will be conducted. All documents related to the Commission's recommendations and evaluations will be made available through the Sunshine Portal for public evaluation.
* Require timely financial reporting of pension and health benefit liabilities. Strong financial reporting requirements have been shown to increase annual investment return by 2.1 percent over other funds.
* Cut out the perks for legislators and officials, stop lavish spending on office furniture and supplies, put all of their spending online for taxpayers to review, and restrict travel to exotic places under the pretense of conferences unless a return on investment can be shown to West Virginian taxpayers.