Representative Phil Barnhart (HD-11)



For Immediate Release

February 22, 2005


Contact:  Jacquelyn Jeys, 503.986.1411


Barnhart fights for accountability and efficiency

Bills would increase transparency and reduce government waste


SALEM—The Oregon House of Representatives has begun considering three bills introduced by Rep. Phil Barnhart (D – Central Lane and Linn Counties), which would improve accountability and efficiency in the state government while freeing resources for such important priorities as education and veterans’ welfare, Barnhart announced Tuesday.


“We must ensure that our state uses its money efficiently,” Barnhart said.  “Voters should know what they are paying for, and the rules should be simple, effective and efficient.”


House Bill 2649 will allow municipal corporations to save money by posting their full budgets online, instead of buying costly newspaper space for that purpose.  “Presently, school districts and municipal corporations must publish their entire budget summaries in local newspapers,” Barnhart explained.  “School districts, cities and other public agencies should be able to save money by posting their budgets online.  The newspaper notifications should consist of a short budget title and the web address.” 


Another bill, HB 2645, would give taxpayers a better idea of where their dollars go.  It requires organizations that receive state funds to notify taxpayers that they receive partial funding or complete funding with tax money.  The bill would require such notification to appear in a public place. “If we can raise awareness about how our government works and the programs it pays for, we will all benefit from it,” Barnhart said.


The third bill, HB 2642, would let state government require use of open standard software when it buys systems for government computer systems.  Doing so would save money and improve the state’s technical capabilities, the Barnhart said.


“I plan to fight for every dollar we can save and put it towards funding our schools and strengthening our communities,” Barnhart said.  “Increasing transparency of our system also allows voters to decide whether the Legislature should do things differently.  If taxpayers know about which organizations and services their taxes pay for, they can better participate in the dialogue about our state’s budget.”





Lonn Hoklin
Media Director
House Democratic Office
Oregon House of Representatives