Update: State Spending Transparency

A reader emailed to ask if there are examples of states with online spending databases. Indeed states across the country are adopting transparency legislation while state officials and think tanks are working to create their own spending databases. Here are some recent developments:

  • Georgia: Governor Perdue signed the Taxpayer Protection Caucus to create a website detailing expediture information with no dollar thresholds.
  • Arizona: In July the governor signed a law to establish a public database by 2011.
  • Maine: The Maine Heritage Policy Center just launched a new website on state spending called MaineOpenGov.org
  • Maryland: By January of 2009 a searchable database on grants and contracts over $25,000 should be available in response to recent legislation.
  • Kentucky: Sec. of State Trey Grayson launched Check it Out Kentucky in June.
  • Michigan: Attorney General Mike Cox has posted his office’s expenditures and called on the governor to open the state’s checkbooks.
  • New York: State Comptroller DiNapoli launched Open Book New York. The Manhattan Institute launched SeeThroughNY in August.

All of these developments are great news for taxpayers, but not all databases are created equal. Here are some of the best examples:

For more information, with a complete list of projects in the states, go to ATR’s FiscalAccountiblity.org and Show Me the Spending, maintained by NTU. To understand why spending transparency is a critical issue read my commentary here.