By Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Washington Public Disclosure Commission is struggling to find the dollars to keep its informative website up to date with modern technology.

The state agency that helps the public keep up with campaign finance information was asked by the governor to propose budget cuts just like every other state agency, The Olympian reported ( ) Thursday.

PDC executive director Andrea McNamara Doyle says the agency needs more money, not less, so it can update its online interface.

She says a cut in state funding will mean the agency will fall further behind in its ability to collect and share information with the public.

Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed spending plan would cut the Public Disclosure Commission’s budget by 2 percent for the next two-year budget cycle, including eliminating three employees.

The agency would like to invest $200,000 new dollars into upgrades that would make it easier for candidates and lobbyists to file reports and for the public to find and understand them.

Inslee’s budget offers $24,000 in improvements for the agency while reducing spending overall by $81,000 to about $4 million over two years.

The PDC also says it needs money to replace an old phone system and for new office computers.

Inslee’s budget office said the PDC’s requests were among more than 120 information technology spending requests it received.

“The governor’s budget includes more than $200 million in cuts to help balance the budget,” state budget director David Schumacher said in a statement. “The PDC, like all state agencies, did not receive funding for every new spending request.”

Schumacher added, however, that the governor supports the agency’s modernization efforts.

PDC chairman Grant Degginger noted that some state Senate races involved more spending than the roughly $2 million the agency gets in an entire year to collect and disseminate campaign finance and lobbyist spending reports.

“If you are not staying up, you are falling behind,” Degginger said of technology. “We have fallen really far behind.”


Information from: The Olympian,

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