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States Still in the Dark

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Transparency and openness in government spending is crucial in an open society as it reinforces our system of checks and balances. When citizens know how, where, and why their tax dollars are being spent they are far better able to hold government accountable and then demand changes. As a result, government becomes more responsive to constituent's concerns, thus bolstering public confidence, promoting fiscal responsibility, and reducing the prospects of waste, fraud, and abuse.  But until recently, when it came to tracking government expenditures online, we were left in the dark.

However, over the last few years state governments across the country have been changing that, creating entirely new web portals dedicated to spending transparency, listing state employee salaries, providing state operating budgets and the like. In addition, independent organizations have jumped on the transparency bandwagon, often times filling the void in states that do not yet have official government transparency sites. They too, organize financial information into a user friendly and searchable format.  

For the month of August Show Me the Spending will be keeping you informed on those states which still lack separate transparency portalsShow Me the Spending is our wiki portal on Sunshine Review dedicated to state spending transparency. As a collaborative transparency effort, we encourage individuals and state-based watchdog groups to send any relevant transparency updates to Show Me the Spending. Tell us about your organization's work, any state transparency developments, or legislative efforts for more transparency.  Simply reply to the Coalition Newsletter email, update the wiki yourself or contact Joseph Moser at jmoser@ntu.org or 703-683-5700.  

There are currently 18 states that do not have separate transparency portals. This week we look at three in particular -- Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts. Check out our Wiki portal Show Me the Spending for more information and to sign up for our Transparency Coalition Newsletter.

The hope is to make Show Me the Spending an up to date information sharing website that keeps you in the light about transparency measures taking place around the country.