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Ragan: “Citizens deserve to know what government is doing and why”

Dr. Laverne R. Joseph, president and CEO of Retirement Housing Foundation, Representative Sharon Steckman and Senator Amanda Ragan were on hand recently to celebrate the Retirement Housing Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Pilgrim Manor in Mason City.

From Senator Amanda Ragan –

In a democracy, citizens deserve to know what government is doing and why.

The good news is that Iowans are among America’s most active citizens, with high levels of volunteerism and community involvement. We elect officials to work for us; we want a chance to offer input into government decisions; and we want to know how our tax dollars are spent.

Iowa ranked 7th last year in the nationwide, nonpartisan “State Integrity Investigation,” scoring well on laws dealing with openness and vulnerability to corruption ( Initiatives we approved during the 2012 session should push Iowa even higher in the rankings by ensuring state government works for you.

This year we built on Iowa’s strong foundation of open, transparent, accountable government by:

• Creating a searchable online database of the state budget so that you can get a look at how your tax dollars are invested to create jobs, improve student achievement and boost quality of life for Iowans throughout the state. (SF 2316)

• Requiring an ongoing, comprehensive review of all state department rules to eliminate those that are outdated, redundant, inconsistent or incompatible, and putting online a searchable database so that Iowans can see what rules are in place. (HF 2465)

• Giving Iowans better access to government information by creating the Iowa Public Information Board to address and resolve complaints related to our state’s open meetings and open records laws. (SF 430)

• Requiring funders of automated “robo-calls” to identify themselves so that Iowans know who is paying for campaign spending, and improving oversight to ensure campaigns are run fairly (SF 2236, SF 2313).

• Urging the U.S. Congress to regulate and restrict unlimited corporate campaign contributions that drown out the voices of living, breathing people. (SR 113)

• Increasing accountability and transparency when your tax dollars and property tax rates are affected by local economic develop projects funded by TIF (tax incremental financing). (HF 2460)

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