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Testimony of Andrew M. Langer President of the Institute for Liberty Before the Maryland Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs January 15, 2009 Madam Chair and members of the Committee: Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today. My name is Andrew Langer, and I am President of the Institute for Liberty (IFL). IFL is a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. We focus on small business and entrepreneurship, property rights, and reforming government operations to protect individual rights. I have testified before the Maryland legislature before on property rights issues, and helped write the book, “Property Rights: Understanding Government Takings and Environmental Regulation”. I am also a resident of Centreville, Maryland, out on the Eastern Shore. I am here today to speak in opposition to SB73, an act concerning the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation and the Confidentiality of Records. While I believe that we need to take a serious look in general at our land purchase and land preservation programs, I will leave that discussion for another time. What concerns me greatly here today, however, is that this bill moves state policy in a decidedly wrong-headed direction. The “Transparency in Government” movement in America has been around for quite some time. It led the forefront in efforts to open up government meetings, and shine a bright light on the relationships between government officials and special interest groups. And like all movements, this movement has evolved, and is now focusing on greater efforts to bring sunshine to government operations, especially fiscal operations. It couldn’t come at a more crucial time, either. With economic forecasts not improving, with state budgets (especially Maryland’s) facing record deficits, Maryland’s working families and small businesses are ever more interested in how their monies are being spent. Every dollar that a Maryland working family sends to

Langer Testimony January 15, 2009 government is a dollar that they cannot spend in the productive economy. Every dollar that a small business in Maryland sends to government is a dollar that is no longer invested that business. This translates into fewer jobs, fewer purchases of durable goods, and an economy that simply cannot recover. Fiscal transparency is a key tool to make sure that government dollars are being properly spent. All across the nation, governments are putting more and more spending information online. Texas is going agency by agency and putting each item of spending online for the public to review. Likewise, Nebraska is engaged in a complete overhaul of their fiscal transparency. But SB73 moves Maryland in the wrong direction. Land purchases, and the locking up of land permanently through easements, is an expensive proposition—merits aside. Marylanders have an absolute right to know what sorts of asks are being made, what sorts of offers are being made in return, and they have the right to know this BEFORE the purchases are being made. Otherwise, they have no ability to evaluate whether or not the state is getting a good deal. It’s their money, after all. Their investment in their future. Times are tight. It is the public’s responsibility to ensure that the money they send to government is money well spent. SB73 frustrates that ability and moves Maryland policy in the wrong direction. I urge each and every one of you to oppose this bill. Thank you again for the opportunity to testify. I look forward to any questions you might have.