Monday, September 29, 2014

Letter from a Livermore Resident

Dwight E. Hines
Livermore, Maine 04253

September 30, 2014

Dear Ms. Levin:

I am impressed with the Audit you completed in Rhode Island.  We need that in Maine.

I have attempted to collect data from a small (< 21) towns in Maine and that is still in progress.

I have several questions about what you plan to do with the wonderful data set you now have for Rhode Island.

1) Do you plan to use the compliance/non-compliance data to group towns or agencies to see if there are similarities/differences in economic development (rate or accomplished)?  Obviously, there would be a need to control for income, industry, population, etc, but it would be good to know because we now have tons of data from developing countries (IMF, UN) on right to know and development, although cause-effect is a ways from being established.

2) Maine has one of the largest underground economies (relative) in the U.S.  Can you estimate size or degree of the underground economy in municipalities in Rhode Island?
In other words, is compliance with open records laws enough to keep economy fairly clean and healthy?

3) And so on. . .   I have to go try to obtain data now on sales analyses (property sold and bought over the past year by municipality).  Some towns are more aware of the value of transparency than others -- with the state property revenue people here being excellent on accuracy and openness.

Dwight Hines