Shaping A Government Accountable to the People
How our government collects and spends money is critically important. Tax and budget decisions are the most concrete way that communities declare priorities and balance competing values.
Unfortunately, government decisions about how to raise revenue and support public functions often fail to best advance the public interest. Too often, public subsidies, tax breaks or special deals are granted to powerful corporate interests at the taxpayers’ expense. When this happens, taxpayers are stuck with the tab, or public resources and services end up threatened.
It is not possible to ensure that government decisions are fair and efficient unless information is publicly accessible. Likewise, public officials and private companies that receive contracts and subsidies must be held accountable for delivering promised goods and services.
Transparency in government spending checks corruption, promotes fiscal responsibility, and allows for greater, more meaningful participation in our democratic system. Maryland PIRG Foundation is working to advance these goals on a variety of fronts:
- Promoting public access to online information about government spending at a detailed "checkbook" level including contracts, subsidies and "off-budget" agencies. Maryland PIRG Foundation's 2016 Following The Money report is the seventh annual scorecard of state's online budget transparency. This latest scorecard finds that states continue to make progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending, but some states are lagging and in all states there are opportunities to expand transparency to include economic development subsidies and quasi-public agencies.
- Ensuring that companies that receive public subsidies are held accountable for delivering clear benefits or required to return public dollars.
- Protecting against bad privatization deals that sell off public assets on the cheap and diminish public control of vital public structures such as toll roads, parking systems and traffic enforcement.
In Maryland’s gubernatorial elections, the people and companies that donate to campaigns are not reflective of the Marylanders who vote in these elections. On average, donors make large contributions that most Marylanders can’t afford, only a small percentage of the population is making contributions, and the majority of money comes from donors who aren’t eligible to vote in these elections.
Baltimore - A report released today by Maryland PIRG Foundation finds that the people and entities that donate to Maryland’s Gubernatorial campaigns are not reflective of Marylanders who are eligible to vote in these elections. The report finds that the money raised comes primarily from out of state or non individuals who contribute disproportionately large sums of money.
A report released today by Maryland PIRG Foundation finds that the Montgomery County Public Election Fund is working as intended, and is encouraging more small donor participation.
This report analyzes the fundraising data from the 2018 county elections, the first election in Maryland to use a small donor matching system. Overall, the small donor matching system was largely successful in achieving its stated goals
On Monday, January 29, Maryland PIRG Foundation and Common Cause Maryland will release a report on the initial success of the Montgomery County Public Election Fund. The report will look at the fundraising trends for candidates using the small donor matching program and the trends of candidates not using the program.
Your tax-deductible donation supports Maryland PIRG Foundation's work to educate consumers on the issues that matter, especially when powerful interests are blocking progress.
You can also support Maryland PIRG Foundation’s work through bequests, contributions from life insurance or retirement plans, securities contributions and vehicle donations.