"Show Me" state's taxpayers fascinated with seeing how their tax money is spent
The Missouri Accountability Portal launched by Gov. Blunt by executive order on July 10, 2007 has generated great public interest. The governor's office reports that since its inception, there have been over one million visits to the site. Over 21,000 visits per day have been recorded on the website that allows taxpayers to track government expenditures by broad categories such as budget category, vendor and contract.
One of the first comprehensive state expenditure databases in the country, MAP is being updated on a daily basis. According to the governor's office, the website will continuously be improved and will include information on state tax credits beginning October 2007, and state employee salary information beginning January 2008.
"While things tend to move slower during the hot summer months, Gov. Matt Blunt's Missouri Accountability Portal has defied the summer lull and generated huge interest in Missouri's fiscal transparency," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases. "As the fiscal transparency movement sweeps the country, those questioning this effort and asking who would actually visit websites detailing government expenditures have been taught a lesson: Taxpayers do care where their money goes. One million hits in less than two months should be enough to prove that."
The Missouri Accountability Portal is part of a broader trend to inject transparency into government finances. This year, in addition to Missouri, five states have taken steps towards greater fiscal transparency. Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, and Hawaii have passed legislation mandating the creation of searchable websites detailing comprehensive government expenditure information. Like Missouri taxpayers, constituents in these states - to varying degrees - will be able to track government spending at a mouse-click.
"Good government should have nothing to hide from its taxpayers," continued Norquist. "They are the ones footing the bill for every dollar their government spends. Led by Gov. Blunt, Missouri - along with the five states that have passed legislation to implement comprehensive fiscal transparency - has set a new standard for states around the country."