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WASHINGTON, February 4, 2008 – An overwhelming majority of voters want full and open reporting on how Recovery Act funds are spent at federal and state levels, according to a nationwide survey conducted last week. The survey found demand for greater transparency in the recovery package reaches across partisan, geographic and demographic divides.
“People clearly realize that public scrutiny better ensures that dollars will be well spent,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG.
Republicans, independents, and Democrats alike strongly support the inclusion of tracking and reporting requirements to ensure federal money is effectively spent and has a positive impact on the economy:
- ♦Three-quarters of voters (76%) believe that “creating a national website where citizens can see what companies and government agencies are getting the funds, for what purposes, and the number and quality of jobs being created or saved” would have an important impact on the package, including 39% who believe its impact would be extremely important.
- ♦Support for state transparency websites to monitor recovery funds received almost equally high marks, again from Republicans, independents and Democrats: Fully 76% of American voters said creating state level websites to track funds was “important,” and 34% said it was “very important.”
- ♦Some of the strongest numbers in the entire survey revolve around voters’ support for pre-conditions for private companies receiving financial assistance from the government, which include “limiting executive pay, bonuses, and dividends to shareholders.” Eighty-four percent (84%) of Americans support these conditions, with 70% supporting these conditions strongly. In addition, more than eight in ten voters from every major demographic, political, and regional subgroup agree.
However, although state governments will have to report to the federal government, the current bill does not similarly require states to show their own citizens how they are spending the money, despite the fact that state governments will be responsible for dispensing over half the funds. Underscoring the breadth of support for this reform, 70% of Republicans, 74% of independents, and 80% of Democrats believe it would have an important impact on the recovery package.
“We need disclosure and accountability for the states and for the financial institutions receiving bailout money. Otherwise tax dollars will be spent on Bridges to Nowhere, stratospheric bonuses, and other boondoggles, said Nicole Tichon, Federal Budget Advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG).”
The survey was conducted between January 13th and January 20th, 2008 by Lake Research Partners, in collaboration with Topos Partnership. It reached 900 adults, 18 years of age or older, in the United States who are registered and voted in the 2008 General Election. It was released by The Coalition for an Accountable Recovery, a partnership of over 30 organizations from across the political spectrum, including U.S. PIRG, working to ensure that economic recovery spending is transparent, accountable and effective.
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