Transparent Government Spending
Alabama has seen more than its fair share of corruption and backroom dealing. Just recently, we have learned of sheriffs pocketing tens of thousands of dollars that were intended to be used to feed inmates in county jails. This kind of self-dealing behavior is only possible when it can easily be hidden. We need to shine a bright light on all government spending, so that we know our money is being spent wisely.
That’s why I support strengthening the Freedom of Information Act and state-level laws on government transparency to empower journalists and citizen watchdogs to hold our government accountable for its actions and spending.
Transparent Government Policy
Government agencies have access to a great deal of data and often have the resources (internally or externally) to analyze that data to discover which policies work best. When we know what does and doesn’t work, we can stop wasting money on programs that don’t serve their purpose and direct our attention to programs that have been shown to be effective and efficient.
That’s why I support ending the political policing of publicly-funded research, particularly as it relates to the Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health. We deserve to know what’s really happening in our communities, our country, and our world.
Economic Development and Tax Incentives
Driving economic development is a top priority for nearly every civic leader. Few things are more satisfying that knowing that your constituents have jobs because of your good work. Yet not all jobs are equal. And new jobs rarely come for free. To entice new employers into a community, the community often offers the employer financial perks (tax abatements, tax credits, or even grants). The problem here is that the process of negotiating a deal is not transparent, nor is the cost-benefit ratio. Communities often don’t realize how much money they will end up paying the employer and companies often aren’t held responsible for delivering on their promise of good jobs. Moreoever, subsidies for new businesses put existing local businesses at a disadvantage because they aren’t getting the same advantages as their newly arriving competitor.
That’s why I support investing in entrepreneurship and local small businesses, rather than in subsidies for outside businesses to come in. If we are going to spend public dollars on job creation (and I think we should!), then those dollars should go to business owners that are already in our district. We can and should develop innovative business leaders and a skilled workforce, but we can do so from within our community. Let’s invest in us. After all, its our money!