BRAC joins coalition backing ‘Louisiana Checkbook’ to track government spending

The Business Report

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is among a coalition of chambers of commerce, business associations and other groups backing the “Louisiana Checkbook,” a proposed website that would track government spending. The proposal is high on the agenda of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

BRAC joins more than two dozen groups, including Greater New Orleans, Inc. and associations for the oil and gas, restaurant, retail and chemical industries, among others, in backing the proposal.

“We believe that the people of Louisiana deserve transparency on how their tax dollars are being spent,” BRAC President and CEO Adam Knapp says in a statement. “Transparency will lead to greater accountability and trust, and hopefully to greater prioritization of how those dollars should be spent.”

Pitched as a transparency measure, the concept would allow residents to track spending by state and local governments, school districts, courts and other public entities.

The proposal is modeled after Ohio Checkbook, an interactive website where people can review government spending. An Ohio official will demonstrate the program at LABI’s annual gathering this week. Supporters recently created a website to rally support for bringing the idea to Louisiana.

LABI and the Louisiana chapter of the conservative, Koch brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity, have both made the checkbook idea a priority for the upcoming regular legislative session.

“In an effort to educate the public, we urge our officials to utilize transparent, easily accessible, and contemporary mediums, such as the internet, to help inform and educate the public as to how and where their tax dollars are being spent and to engage public participation in the process,” says Nick Castjohn, president of Louisiana Home Builders Association.

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