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Friday, May 6, 2016

A more transparent, accountable government

Friday, March 19, 2010

Providing a more accountable and transparent government has always been one of my primary goals. I believe that taxpayers have the right to know exactly where their money goes. One of my proudest accomplishments as your State Treasurer has been the launching of nebraskaspending.gov.

When I first took office, I found that there were few places I could go to see how our tax dollars were being spent. These various government reports were often over 100 pages long and not user-friendly. They lacked detail and did little to promote a transparent government. This frustrating search led to my commitment to the idea that Nebraskans deserve an easier way of seeing where their money is going.

Launched in 2008, Nebraskaspending.gov is a comprehensive and searchable database of state government spending here in Nebraska, aimed at educating citizens about how our tax dollars are raised and how they're being spent.

Nebraskaspending.gov provides a searchable listing of expenditures for the State of Nebraska each fiscal year. Here, expenditures are searchable by name, county, amount and agency. Listed are 1.7 million payments made by the state of Nebraska, all by the click of a button. In addition to an updated yearly expenditure breakdown, there is also a comprehensive archive of historical expenditures.

The site includes an interactive search of all contracts made by the State of Nebraska each calendar year. Every contract is listed by agency, contract date, final date, duration of the contract, vendor name, description of the service provided and the estimated contract amount. Site visitors are able to see exactly who Nebraska is doing business with. They can see listed agencies, and the length and worth of their vendor contracts.

Visitors can also search for specific government agency payments. These payments are searchable by agency, operating amount, salaries and benefits, travel, aid, and total expenditures. Agencies are anything from state colleges and Department of Roads, to the offices of elected officials and Administrative Services. An open, online file of government agency payments undoubtedly promotes accountability and transparency within our government.

My goal is to ensure that Nebraskans can see every component of their government's spending, down the very last penny. Government officials need to know that they are being held accountable when they spend tax dollars. In an era of economic uncertainty and financial irresponsibility, we cannot afford for our elected officials to be making careless or negligent choices with state funds. Nebraskaspending.gov exists to promote necessary transparency.

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