Rhode Island goes for Government 2.0

Delivering on a campaign promise made in 2006, Rhode Island's General Treasurer Frank Caprio has made the state checkbook available to the public in an easily comprehensible online format.

Rhode Island is not the first state to make such a move toward "open government." Since the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590) sponsored by Senators Tom Coburn (R - Okla.) and Barack Obama (D - Ill.) was signed into law in 2006, 22 states have put up sites which avail their financial information, and eight more have begun transparency legislation.

Of all the states which have made their information available online, the Missouri Accountability Portal is regarded as the most comprehensive. This means that Missourians can search through grants, contracts, line item expenditures, departmental and agency budgets, as well as public employee salaries.

Rhode Island's database does not include grants or contracts, and still lacks an in-database search function. However, Caprio claims that the site was created economically. "While similar projects have been completed by other states with external price tags in excess of $300,000," Caprio said, "We were committed to creative solutions that utilized our internal team and thus saved the taxpayers of Rhode Island a great deal of money."

Found at www.ri.gov/opengovernment/treasury, the checkbook will be updated weekly with data from RIFANS, the Rhode Island Office of Accounts and Controls database.

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