Today I signed the Sunlight Foundation’s open letter to Congress about the planned cuts to the U.S. government’s open data programs.
Then I used their wizard to send out a letter to the editor to a bevy of newspapers. Here’s the letter I wrote:
It’s deeply disappointing, but not surprising, that when budget cut time comes around, the small bit of funding for public access to government data is the first on the chopping block. We made real progress in recent years with data.gov and other programs that let people actually *see* how their government spends their money.
Of course the special interests–which benefited for so long from the lack of public information about government spending–want to go back to the bad old days. But cutting transparency in the name of the budget crunch is a false promise. The proposed 2011 budget would cut the Electronic Government Fund from $34 million down to $2 million, forcing the shutdown of data.gov and other key transparency and accountability programs–which have already saved us not millions but billions. The only reason to cut the transparency budget is for the sake of the special interests and corruption that thrive in the darkness.
If you live in the U.S., you should sign the open letter and write your own letter to the editors as well.