The Haines Borough’s plan to use local financial disclosure regulations -- instead of ones from the state -- is good on several points.
The state is starting to post its disclosure forms online. They needn’t be there. They should be in a cabinet, available at all times for public review.
The state’s requirement that candidates report all sources of income more than $1,000 is perhaps too low.
But the borough’s plan to remove the requirement for reporting total income from sources above $5,000 is a fatal flaw.
Financial disclosure is a safeguard for citizens. It’s a way for them to judge if their elected representatives have too big of a private, financial stake in a public matter to be trying to make a decision in the public’s interest.
Amounts of income are critical, because money talks and more money shouts.The only sure way to know if your representative is being talked to or shouted at by his wallet is to see how much money is at play.
Serving in borough government isn’t a right. It’s a privilege granted by voters who rightly deserve to know what else might be influencing their leaders’ decisions -- and in what amounts. -- Tom Morphet