Friday, March 11, 2011

More secrecy for TN taxpayer funded Bribery-absolutely outrageous

This proposed bill is an open invitation to fraud and corruption. It would allow local governments to write their own open records policy for so-called economic development...assisted, no doubt, by the local chamber of commerce. This is absolutely crazy.

Amid fierce competition for economic development projects and with a state unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, Tennessee officials are often tight-lipped about how they recruit corporations — and the incentives they're offering — for fear of tipping off competitors in another state.

But opponents of the newly proposed bill say it would give local governments broad powers to basically craft their own public records rules and go beyond current law to keep information away from taxpayers.

"The bill would allow local governments to adopt their own public records policies in the handling of that information, which means that a company could insist that a city sign a confidentiality agreement that would prevent it from talking about incentives and other things that might cost the taxpayers money," said Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. "And it gives the municipality's lawyer a lot of power to decide what can be kept secret."