Taxing districts dismissive of open-records rules

November 16, 2012 

The reason open-records laws are often called "sunshine laws" is the belief that public access to information will have the same disinfecting impact as opening to sunshine dark places awash in mold and slime.

Kentucky has good open-records laws but often those entrusted with carrying out the public's business are ignorant or dismissive of them.

That certainly proved to be true among administrators of the 1,000-plus special taxing districts documented by the staff of State Auditor Adam Edelen.

Asked to provide financial information for an online database, many ignored the request and others questioned the public's right to access.

Edelen shared some comments, including: "Too many crackpots in the world." "Would rather the public contact us directly to gain information so we know who is asking." "I just don't think all this information needs to be public."

If it's the public's money and the public's business, it does need to be public.

And it should be online where the public can have a look easily and inexpensively. The sooner every person handling public funds in Kentucky understands that, the better.

Let the sun shine.

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