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TN Gets an “F” on Openness in Government

November 16, 2007

Nashville, TN – Even in this Internet age, government secrets are still tough to uncover in Tennessee, according to a new report. While the state does give some level of access to information on lobbyists and government contracts, there is no current information about subsidies and tax breaks that are supposed to result in the creation of good jobs. Report author Phil Materra, with Good Jobs First, says the public should have access to this information.

"The public has a definite interest in knowing how their money is being used. They want to know if their money is effective in the job creation effort."

Materra says other states post information about whether corporate subsidies and tax breaks live up to their promises, so Tennessee could do it, too.

"It's just a matter of taking information that they already have in some state computer, and converting it into a form that can be transmitted on the web, and searched on the web."

Tennessee didn't fare quite as badly as Wyoming, which scored dead last compared to other states' information on lobbying and government. Materra says it takes resources to get information online, and it's something he hopes the legislature will consider in the future.

The full report is available online, at www.goodjobsfirst.org.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - TN