New Web site maps state spending

Friday, July 13, 2007

Missourians can now easily see exactly how the state government is spending their tax dollars, thanks to a Web site launched Wednesday.

The Missouri Accountability Portal updates information about state spending at the close of each business day -- one of the first sites in the nation to do so, according to Gov. Matt Blunt. Users can search the Web site, mapyourtaxes.mo.gov, by budget category, vendor or contract. Links to other public information maintained by the state are also available on the site.

For example, when entering "Crowell, Jason" as a vendor, the site shows Crowell, Republican state senator from Cape Girardeau, spent $4,514.40 on his legislative daily expense allowance and $5,251.20 for in-state mileage during fiscal year 2007.

A search under contracts of "Southeast Missouri State" shows the university has received payments of $84,409.34, $64,530.60, $15,400, $30,771.80, $74,574, $32,842.62 and $18,494.78 during fiscal year 2007.

State employees' salaries will be listed in the database beginning Jan. 1.

"Missourians deserve openness in state spending," Blunt said in a statement. "We must be transparent. These dollars belong to the people of our state. We can use technology to allow Missourians to better see how their tax dollars are being used."

The Missouri Business Portal, a one-stop-shop that connects small business owners with state government resources based on their interests and inquiries, was launched earlier this year.

Five other states -- Kansas, Hawaii, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas -- also have laws requiring state Web sites that assist people with searches of state expenses, according to the Associated Press. In 2006, Congress passed a law requiring a searchable site for federal contracts and grants, which should be up by December. A private site to do the same thing, FedSpending.org, is already running.

jsamons@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 134

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