Senate passes Sheehan legislation that would require a Citizens’ Budget Report for the general public
STATE HOUSE — The Senate today passed legislation introduced by Sen. James C. Sheehan (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown) that looks to make the government more accountable to its citizenry by being more transparent in its actions in the way it spends money.
The legislation (2017-S 0469) would require the state budget office to produce a citizens’ guide to the state budget, to be known as the Citizens’ Budget Report that is easily readable and understandable by the general public. The bill would require the budget office to prepare and post on the Secretary of State’s website a comprehensive but easy-to-understand citizen’s guide to the state budget revenues and expenditures.
“Democracy works best when there is an unimpeded flow of information,” said Senator Sheehan. “Impediments to citizens knowing what their government is doing must not exist. Government needs to make information easy for the citizens to find, and easy to understand.”
The Sheehan bill directs the budget office and the Secretary of State to cooperate on the language, form and presentation of an annual budget guide. The guide must be produced and made available on the Secretary of State’s website no later than 60 days after the public release of the annual state budget office “Budget as Enacted” report, and must contain data on each governmental department’s purpose and population served and include, where available, performance measures.
“Government has the authority to collect tax revenue from the public, and it also has the responsibility to provide an easy to understand explanation of how that money is used,” said Senator Sheehan.
The measure, which is cosponsored by Senators Marc A. Cote (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Adam J. Satchell (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Louis P. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton) and Jeanine C. Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick), now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903