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Taxpayer Group Announces Government Spending "Transparency" Web Site
For Immediate Release November 12, 2008
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) today joined with the online resource Sunshine Review in the next major step toward building a collaborative community of advocates for government "transparency." NTU has integrated its Show Me the Spending Web site with Sunshine Review's Wikipedia-like site that enables people to find and share information about whether state and local governments are effective, accessible, and responsible with tax dollars. Now, anyone from think-tank staffers to taxpayer activists can edit the site, available at www.showmethespending.com, to reflect transparency news and updates from their respective states.
"Because of its interactive nature, we expect this Web site to become the 'one-stop shop' for accurate, timely information about transparency in government spending," said State Policy Analyst Douglas El Sanadi. "Its software platform, similar to Wikipedia's, makes it an ideal Web space both for learning and for educating others about how government allocates taxpayer dollars." For example, each month will feature a collaborative transparency project. November's project is to develop a comprehensive list of links to each state's employee salary data.
In fact, government officials have already found the site useful as they have sought to expand their respective states' disclosure policies. Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn has viewed and praised the site, as has the Director of the South Carolina Transparency Project.
The new Web site continues the efforts of the "Show Me the Spending" Coalition, a group of organizations dedicated to transparency. The Coalition formed in the spring of 2007 under NTU's direction, and already has over 30 member organizations. Prior to founding the Coalition, NTU was a key proponent behind the creation of www.USASpending.gov, a federal transparency Web site launched in 2007. Since then, Coalition members have successfully promoted transparency throughout the country.
Launched in July 2008, Sunshine Review is beginning a nationwide project to assess transparency issues at the state and local level. It features news on government's effort to proactively and voluntary disclose information online, tracks transparency legislation, provides outrageous stories of government spending, and covers open records issues. Sunshine Review and its sponsor, the Sam Adams Alliance, want citizens to be able to easily locate basic facts through their governments' Web sites. The Sam Adams Alliance is a member of the Show Me the Spending Coalition.
"As transparency continues to open windows on the way government operates, our site will help taxpayers and elected officials determine which of those windows allow the most sunshine into the process," El Sanadi concluded. "Transparency is essential for government accountability and, ultimately, it leads to more responsible use of taxpayer dollars. We're confident that www.showmethespending.com, because of its collaborative nature, will serve as the guide for this vital, constantly evolving movement.?
NTU is a nonpartisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for limited government and more accountability from elected officials. Note: Visit the Coalition at www.showmethespending.com.