byÂ William Mattox, Big Government
Under the category of â€œNo Good Deed Goes Unpunished,â€ Florida Gov. Rick Scott can file some news accounts of his recent unveiling of the transparency web site,Â www.FloridaHasARighttoKnow.com.Â The site includes salary information about many key state employees â€“ including those on the Governorâ€™s staff â€“ as well as records from the Florida Retirement System listing every government pensioner receiving at least $100,000 a year.
While this proactive disclosure of frequently-requested information won the Governor brownie points with some â€œopen governmentâ€ advocates, the head of the AFL-CIO and at least one major newspaper accused Gov. Scott of selectively releasing information to advance his pension reform agenda.Â (See:http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/florida-gov-rick-scott-launches-public-records-website/1157906andÂ http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/19/2124262/pension-battle-overlooks-the-deeper.html).
Critics of Governor Scott considered it foul that he chose to highlight the 542 government pensioners that annually receive more than $100,000 from the taxpayers, rather than releasing theÂ data on all pensioners in the Florida Retirement System.
Yet, many â€œgood governmentâ€ liberals in Minnesota must wonder what all the fuss in Florida is about.
Thatâ€™s because Minnesotaâ€™s Democratic-controlled Senate joined in passing a 2005 law which requiresÂ most local governments in that state to proactively disclose their three most-highly-compensated officials each year.Â (Seehttp://freedomfoundationofminnesota.com/minnesota-notifies-citizens-on-top-public-pay).
The logic behind the Minnesota law is simple â€“ taxpayers can typically take one good look at the top numbers and determine whether or not thereâ€™s a problem in excessive government compensation.
If the compensation for the those at the topÂ appears reasonable, then thereâ€™s probably little need to pore over the data for other government employees.Â But if the top compensation is excessive, then that is a problem in its own right â€“ and it could be a sign of a larger, system-wide problem inÂ overly-generousÂ compensation.
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