(Alexandria, Va.) -- The Peach State's fiscal transactions may or may not be all that peachy, but thanks to the power of the Internet, residents will be able to judge for themselves. A directive that will open up state government spending to the public online has added Georgia to the growing list of states that are taking part in the grassroots "Google Government" movement, according to the 360,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), one of the founding members of the "Show Me the Spending" coalition.
Legislation that Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) signed earlier this month creates a publicly available Web site containing data on state government spending. The site will allow taxpayers to log on, browse, and make their own evaluations of Georgia?s budget priorities.
"Thanks to the actions of Georgia's elected officials, ordinary citizens will soon have the ability to see where their tax dollars are going," NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan said. "Good tools for public scrutiny in turn build a good basis for public policy."
The Georgia plan is modeled after 2006 legislation on the federal level to build a grant and contract database. The bill, cosponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Barack Obama (D-IL), directed the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to construct an Internet destination (now at www.USASpending.gov) for the general public to track the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal grant and contract disbursements.
"That's one more state to join this rapidly growing movement for greater government transparency," Moylan concluded. "Those remaining states that spend in secret ought to pass similar plans because an accountable government is a responsible government. The taxpayers who foot the bills for states and localities deserve to know where their money is going."
The "Show Me the Spending" coalition has produced state-by-state legislative updates, model bill language, and further research and commentary on the issue. So far more than a dozen states have implemented or will soon construct searchable spending Web sites.
NTU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels. The group has nearly 8,300 members in Georgia. Note: For further details on the "Google Government" movement, visit www.showmethespending.org or www.ntu.org.