New budget year brings new-look state Web site

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Needing to renew your driver's license? Wanting to start a new business? Or are you just looking for the winning lottery numbers?

A new-look state Web site premiered Monday that is intended to make it easier for Missourians to sort through the bureaucracy of state government and find answers to everyday questions.

The start of the Web site coincided with the start of the 2003 fiscal year. A new prescription drug benefit also began for low-income senior citizens.

And new reimbursement policies took effect for state employees traveling and dining on the job.

Missouri began the budget year with $326 million on hand in general revenue.

The cash balance was better than Gov. Bob Holden had projected just last week. But state accounting director Jim Carder said nearly all of the money would be needed to meet expenses that weren't included in the state's $18.9 billion budget. The new Web site, funded through the fiscal 2002 budget, was supposed to be operational in January, but budget cuts and the bid process delayed the start-up.

The revamped Web site is the state's attempt to simplify the search through its other 115 Web sites, which contain some 900 Web pages.

"It's really our first entry into what is known as the e-government arena," said Gerry Wethington, the state's chief information official.

The state's previous Web site prominently displayed options for the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The redesigned Web site contains those options, but more prominently displayed are numerous "Show me how to..." options.

Clicking on the option of "how to renew my driver's license" takes an Internet browser to a Department of Revenue of Web page with rules, instructions and contact information.

Choosing the option of "find winning lottery numbers" takes a person to the Missouri Lottery Web site, which displays the results of recent lottery drawings, among other things.

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