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									Wagner right on disclosure - Opinion - The Times-Tribune                                                                                                                    Page 1 of 3



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    Wagner right on disclosure
                                                                                                         Published: May 23, 2011

     ARTICLE TOOLS                                 Part of the problem that the state's newspaper industry has in arguing for
                                                   continued publication of government notices in newspapers is that it has a
         SHARE | FONT SIZE: [A] [A] [A]            direct financial interest in the ad revenue.

     OUR SOCIAL NETWORKS                           It's very unusual and, indeed, awkward for newspapers to be directly
                                                   interested parties on matters of public policy. But there is a fundamental
     FACEBOOK           Recommend                  public disclosure issue at stake that goes well beyond the industry's direct
     SIGN UP TEXT ALERTS | NEWSLETTER              interest. It is extremely important that a highly credible independent party,
                                                   Auditor General Jack Wagner, effectively has stated that case.

                                                     A bill in Harrisburg would allow local governments to post their own public
    notices on their own websites, rather than in newspapers of general circulation, as now required. It would be, as Mr. Wagner
    pointed out in a letter to lawmakers, a disaster for the cause of government transparency.

    Mr. Wagner pointed out that about half of people 18 to 49 look at the Internet every day while about 40 percent in that group
    read a newspaper. But the percentages reverse rapidly with age. Internet usage falls to 17 percent for those older than 65
    while newspaper readership rises to 75 percent. Pennsylvania's has one of the highest average ages in the nation, meaning
    that posting notices only online ensures that a majority of Pennsylvanians never will see them.

    The problem is compounded because Pennsylvania has more units of local government than any other state, which would
    require people to seek notices on multiple, often obscure and poorly maintained websites, rather than in a central location.
    And the industry already posts most public notices online for people who prefer that medium, at www.mypublicnotices.com.

    It's a question of important public policy and government transparency rather than of revenue. Mr. Wagner knows it and so
    do lawmakers.

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http://thetimes-tribune.com/opinion/wagner-right-on-disclosure-1.1150605                                                                                                      5/25/2011

								
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