Yesterday, StateImpact published a story about Idaho’s last-place finish in a government transparency study. In it we noted that Idaho was one of only three states that didn’t respond when the study’s initial findings were sent to government officials, requesting comment. It was the Department of Administration’s Bill Burns who received that survey. He wasn’t available yesterday, but answered a couple of questions this afternoon.
Burns said he remembers receiving the request, but didn’t think he was the right person to handle it. “We purchase products and services for state agencies, which does not account for all state spending,” he said. He directed the U.S. Public Interest Research Group to contact the state controller’s office.
At the state controllers office, Chief of Staff Brandon Woolf didn’t recollect receiving the survey, but he said getting funding for the kind of transparency website U.S. PIRG recommends is a priority. “It has been a goal for six plus years, at least,” Woolf said. “It’s not for a lack of trying.”
The issue, he said, is funding. “The governor put it into our budget this year, but it was pulled,” Woolf said. “It’s trying to get blood out of a turnip. We realized there was no money over these recent years. We’ve shared that this is a request we’re going to keep bringing up, each of these years we’ve gone before JFAC.”