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Advocates say more funding for ‘government transparency’ is needed across New York

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  • Staff Report 

The New York Coalition for Open Government has criticized Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration, accusing it of not doing enough to uphold the state’s transparency laws. The organization has called for a greater commitment to open government and increased funding for the Committee on Government, which provides advice and oversight on freedom of information, open meeting, and personal privacy protection laws.

According to the group’s President, Paul Wolf, the Committee on Open Government is understaffed and underfunded, with only four employees responsible for handling transparency issues across the state. Wolf argued that other state agencies, such as the Inspector General’s Office and the Ethics Commission, have significantly larger staffs.

The Coalition for Open Government is also pushing for the state to fund grants for local municipalities to livestream their meetings and post videos and minutes online. While the group has submitted recommendations to Governor Hochul, the executive budget does not currently include additional funding for open government. Wolf said his organization plans to contact state legislators and encourage them to allocate resources for transparency in government.

The New York State Assembly and Senate have held hearings on the budget, and the Coalition for Open Government has submitted written testimony to the budget chairs in both chambers. The group is hoping that changes can be made to the budget to increase transparency in government.