Our opinion: The price tag
State Rep. Fred Keller of Union County has a good idea: Mark all materials and websites produced with public funds with the statement “prepared or compiled using taxpayer resources.”
Keller recognizes what thoughtful people have known about the American political system for centuries, that incumbency has its advantages.
Those brochures extolling the virtues of your elected state representatives and senators you find in your mailbox periodicly, and the websites fulfilling the same role are produced by people in Harrisburg who are paid for their toil with tax dollars.
Mr. Keller, a Republican, isn’t opposed to the brochures and websites – he has his own – but he already labels them with the information that they are produced at taxpayer expense.
He has introduced a bill in the state House of Representatives that would require his colleagues in both the House and the Senate as well as the administration to do the same.
While most people, if they sat down and really thought about it, might assume that the legislator who mailed or posted their thoughts and positions to you didn’t do it on their own dime, it’s handy to be reminded that mass mailings and web design have costs, and ultimately you paid for that communication.
It will be interesting to see how many members of the General Assembly vote for Keller’s bill. It’s a small thing on its face, but we believe an important step toward fiscal transparency in state government.