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MASSPIRG’s Deirdre Cummings joined Treasurer Steven Grossman, Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez and Comptroller Martin Benison as they launched the new website, Open Checkbook.
“The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy,” said Deidre Cummings, Legislative Director for MASSPIRG. “In an age when people use information primarily online and expect to have it at their fingertips, this new website gives Baystaters a reason to feel more confident about their government.”
This first phase will be followed by more phases to add more spending information including spending by quasi public agencies like the MWRA and Regional Transit Authorities, municipalities, and will include more information on tax expenditures as required by the initial statute.
THE WEBSITE CURRENTLY INCLUDES DETAILED SPENDING INFORMATION FOR:
• All state agencies who are funded via the state budget
• Judiciary – courts and departments
• Constitutional Offices (Governor, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General, Secretary of State)
• Independent agencies, boards and commissions – Library Commissioners, Comptroller, Campaign Finance, Ethics, Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Inspector General, etc.
• District Attorneys (with the exception of FY10 and FY11)
• Agencies within Executive Branch secretariats (Executive Office of Administration and Finance, Executive Office ofEducation, etc.)
•Most Agencies within Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Registry, Highways, Aeronautics, Merit Rating Board)
MASSPIRG first called for greater transparency in state spending in December 2008 when they released Transparency.gov 2.0: Using The Internet For Budget Transparency To Increase Accountability, Efficiency And Taxpayer Confidence, a report defining a new state spending transparency standard, 2.0, a comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget ac¬countability website.
Since the 2008 report MASSPIRG has released annual reports surveying and rating state spending transparency in all 50 states, the most recent one Following the Money 2011, How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.
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