New York! New York! If We Can Make It There….


Transparency has been on the rise in the Empire state for sometime.  See Ellen covering their leaps and bounds here and here and here.  Given New York’s reputation at being incredibly non transparent it is refreshing to see that over the past few years they have been working so hard to move in the direction of openness.

This post is mostly a kudos to New York for doing some pretty excellent and even brave things in order to move the state forward toward a new and interactive democratic future.  For instance the hiring of Phillip Anderson as the New York State Senate’s new new media director.  Phillip Anderson has been a hard fighting reformer to bring New York in to the sun chronicling it on the blog the Albany Project.

I am very much looking forward to this new adventure and for the work I am being tasked to do. Using these new tools to open up our state government, to foster real two way communication between our elected officials and those they were elected to represent, making the data that New Yorkers have bought and paid for available to them in an easy to digest and useful manner — these are the things that I have been advocating for for years. To be able to move inside and get my hands dirty at actually achieving these things is quite an honor and a privilege.

It says a lot that the New York Senate went outside and asked a blogger to head their new media department.  I look forward to seeing all the great innovations that will be coming out of the New York Senate and in fact didn’t have to wait long.  Committees have begun live streaming hearings and archiving them on the new Senate site.

Also the State Comptroller just opened up property tax information so everyone can see how much they pay and compare it to other areas.  The information is on the State Comptroller’s Web site. This is part of the state’s continuing OpenBook initiative to bring more financial data out to the public.  The hope is that people can see how their taxes are figured out by going to this Web site.  The State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said, “My goal is to increase transparency and empower citizens to be able to ask questions and participate in the decision-making process within their communities.”

The Temporary Committee on Rules and Administration Reform has been working tirelessly to bring new rules to the New York government to bring more transparency.   They put their committee hearings online and ask people to come forward and give their ideas on how to open up state government.  Our Policy Director John Wonderlich testified to this committee in February, during a public hearing .

New York is moving ahead for transparency.  Next Friday the New York State Senate will be hosting a Barcamp, which will focus on using technology to increase transparency.   This is a great event that citizens of New York can attend and have a voice in the transparency movement of their state.  Sunlight Labs’ Eric Mill will be there also.

There are new initiatives and advances that happening quickly in New York and I’m very happy to see the state speed along to transparency way.