Bill Creates Web Site To Show How Tax Money Is Spent
Wednesday, April 11th 2007, 2:23 pm
News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma House has passed a bill to create a database showing how tax dollars are spent.
The so-called Taxpayer Transparency Act, which now heads to Gov. Brad Henry for expected approval, would create a Web site _ www.okopenbook.gov _ allowing people to monitor how the government is spending money and to research financial figures for the past 10 years.
The bill passed both the House and Senate without a single ``no'' vote.
The state budget was more than $7 billion last year, the largest in state history.
Rep. Paul Wesselhoft said the Web site will give people more oversight capabilities to keep their lawmakers accountable.
``It'll empower ordinary citizens to be watchdogs on their government,'' said Wesselhoft, R-Moore. ``Nobody should want to hide anything in the state's financial dealings. It is unthinkable.''
Wesselhoft said every dollar a state agency receives will be detailed on the Web site, including who gets state contracts and the amounts given to contractors. Grants given by state agencies also will be included in the information.
House Speaker Lance Cargill said the bill received bipartisan support because lawmakers realize voters want to see their money used as efficiently as possible.
Gov. Brad Henry mentioned the idea for the Web site in his State of the State address this year.
``It is vital that our state government be one of transparency and accountability,'' he said Tuesday. ``By creating a user-friendly Web site that is easily accessible, our citizens will be able to check where their hard-earned tax dollars are going.''