As legislators, one of our primary duties is to be responsible stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars and ensure the government operates efficiently and effectively.
It is simply not good government to spend the hard-earned money of Ohioans frivolously and not be held accountable for such actions. That’s why I’m proud to support an initiative that not only allows the public to see how the state is spending its resources, but that will also potentially save taxpayers millions of dollars a year.
House Bill 3, otherwise known as DataOhio, is a comprehensive and well-vetted piece of legislation, after being thoroughly studied and refined during two previous general assemblies. Sponsored by my colleagues, Representatives Mike Duffey and Christina Hagan, DataOhio would establish standards for government data public records, making them more accessible and easier to read for the general public. Our constituents not only deserve the ability to hold their elected officials and government accountable, but they should be able to access public information quickly and efficiently.
One of the capabilities that would be made possible through DataOhio is a comparison tool, allowing Ohio’s more than 1,300 townships and 900 municipalities to compare spending, especially on resources utilized by entities across the state, like road salt. Additionally, by eliminating cumbersome tasks typically done on paper and through scans and instead creating new formats and automatic databases, DataOhio could save millions of dollars in state spending. Technology continues to advance rapidly, and it is time that the state takes advantage of updates to make things easier and more efficient for state employees and auditors, while saving money long-term.
One of the primary goals of this legislation is to create a simple online catalog of public data, improving transparency for Ohio’s citizens, from local government officials to journalists. Public records data will be uploaded to this site, saving many from hours of searching for information that should be readily available for access.
Increased transparency is an ongoing goal of mine and of the state legislature. Our constituents have elected each of us for a purpose, and it is our duty to allow them to assess that we are fulfilling that purpose. DataOhio is a major step in the right direction to achieve this goal, and I look forward to its journey through the legislative process.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.