After having the sun shined on expenditures, salaries, and pensions this year, Gov. M. Jodi Rell is making sure the state is the one shining the light on itself in the future.
Last week Rell signed a bill authorizing the creation of an online searchable database of all state expenditures, similar to CTSunlight.org created by the Yankee Institute earlier this year.
While the database caused some angst amongst lawmakers, who claimed some of the data gathered through a Freedom of Information with the state was inaccurate, the bill unanimously passed both chambers before being signed by the governor.
“Connecticut’s taxpayers are the ones who pay the cost of state government – and they have every right to see how their money is spent,“ Rell said. “The information is available now, of course, but getting it often involves slogging through mountains of paper. Putting it on-line and in an easily accessible format will ensure that many more people will be able to read and use it.”
Fergus Cullen, executive director of the Yankee Institute, said “Imitation is the best form of flattery.”
“We think it’s a good thing that the state plans to make this information available, and we hope they will be able to do it inexpensively and without hiring new employees or creating some new mini-bureaucracy to do it,” he said.
He said the Yankee Institute was able to create the database for less than $50,000. In addition to state expenditures, the Yankee Institute will start posting payroll data for town and school district employees in the coming weeks.
“If something is paid for using tax dollars, we believe government should make that information public without depending on independent groups like ours to do it for them,” Cullen added.
Under the legislation, the database is expected to be in place July 1, 2011.