(Alexandria, Va.) -- Enactment of a bill Monday opening up state government spending to public scrutiny puts Mississippi on the growing list of states that have joined the "Google Government" movement, according to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has more than 2,100 members in the state and 362,000 nationwide. With the passage of House Bill 101 and its signing by Gov. Haley Barbour (R), Mississippi is among a dozen states that have opened up their books to taxpayers online.
"Lawmakers in Mississippi should be commended for enabling hard-working taxpayers of the state to see where their dollars are going," NTU Director of Government Affairs Kristina Rasmussen said. "Access to this information will improve the efficiency of government and greatly benefit the state in the long run."
The Mississippi bill is modeled after federal legislation cosponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL) and enacted last year. The law ordered the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to create an Internet destination (www.USASpending.gov) for the general public to track the flow of federal grant and contract disbursements. The Mississippi database goes further by including all expenditures of state funds, not just grants and contracts.
Rasmussen also praised Mississippi's law for requiring the spending Web site to utilize user-friendly search functions. "Some states simply have chosen to put lists of information on their Web sites," she said. "While that's a start, these databases really go to work for taxpayers when visitors can search by keyword. Mississippi residents will soon be able to 'Google' their government just like any other Internet search."
Mississippi represents yet another victory for the "Show Me the Spending" coalition (www.showmethespending.org), which NTU organized in 2007 in order to pass similar legislation in all 50 states.
"Transparency is a fundamental aspect of a government for the people and by the people," Rasmussen concluded. "Mississippians can take pride in the fact that their state is holding true to the principles that have made this country great."
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For further details on the "Google Government" movement, visit www.showmethespending.org or www.ntu.org.