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Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group, Free-Market Organizations Track State Budget News via Twitter

by Pete Sepp / /

(Alexandria, VA) -- State fiscal policy meets Web 2.0 with the launch of www.statebooks.org, a Web site designed to provide the latest and most up-to-date information on state budget and spending issues from around the country. The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), with the help of other free-market organizations and taxpayer watchdog groups, has created the site to provide a live feed from Twitter (www.twitter.com) posts containing the "#statebooks" hashtag.

"Statebooks.org is the go-to site on state budget news for policy wonks, state lawmakers, members of the media, and the general public," NTU State Government Affairs Manager Joshua Culling said. "Thanks to the community aspect of Twitter and the participation of so many individuals and organizations, we've been able to effectively promote use of the '#statebooks' hashtag and add a whole new dimension to the fiscal policy debate."

In addition to NTU and several of its staff members, other individuals and organizations have started using the "#statebooks" hashtag on Twitter, including Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the South Carolina Republican Party, the Sunlight Network, and the Tax Foundation.

Twitter is a social-networking site where users post short (140-character maximum) messages and "bookmark" their posts by using a hashtag, a keyword beginning with the "#" symbol. For example, in addition to "#statebooks" to punctuate posts ("tweets") about state fiscal policy, some Twitter users have popularized "#tcot," which stands for "Top Conservatives on Twitter."

The benefit of Twitter is that it provides "live" coverage -- from the release of an organization's latest study to localized taxpayer revolts and other events. The organizers of www.statebooks.org expect to recruit state legislators from across the political spectrum to use the "#statebooks" hashtag when "tweeting" from the floor to give ongoing updates about budgetary proceedings. Another feature of www.statebooks.org is ready-made HTML code for people to embed the live feed on their own blog or Web site.

"Now, anyone with Internet access can stay up to date on state budget news and help keep 'tabs' on elected officials," Culling concluded. "Government transparency and accountability has entered a new era with the creation of www.statebooks.org."

NTU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information, visit www.ntu.org or www.twitter.com/ntu.

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