Governor Steve Beshear's Communications Office
Gov. Beshear Launches New e-Transparency Web Site

Press Release Date:  Friday, January 09, 2009  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Jill Midkiff
502-564-2611
 


“Kentucky’s Open Door” provides online access to how tax dollars are spent

FRANKFORT, Ky. – On Jan. 1, 2009, Kentucky started the New Year with a Web site that provides citizens access to all state expenditures and other vital information about state-funded programs. The new Web site’s address is www.opendoor.ky.gov.

“In today’s difficult economic times, it is even more important for government to be transparent and accountable, and for citizens to feel confident that their tax dollars are being used efficiently and responsibly,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “I’m proud of our administration’s efforts, along with the bipartisan support of all of the state’s executive branch constitutional officers, to put our checkbooks online for public view in such a comprehensive and user-friendly manner.”

In the spring of 2008, Gov. Beshear issued an Executive Order establishing the e-Transparency Task Force, a 14-member, bipartisan panel charged with providing a more transparent, accountable state government that helps eliminate wasteful spending and restores public faith in its leaders. What followed was a concerted, multi-agency effort, led by officials of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, which involved the hard work and extensive cooperation of representatives of every state agency, including the staff of the other, independently elected constitutional officers. The task force solicited dozens of ideas from members of the public, some of whom testified at its public hearings, while others emailed their ideas via the Finance Cabinet’s Web site.

Kentucky’s Open Door is a product of this effort. Some of the features found on the site include:

  • Your Money: A section with dozens of helpful charts, graphs and descriptions that summarize state revenues, expenditures and budget priorities.
  • Cabinet/Agency Search: A search engine that provides agency-by-agency data on state expenditures.
  • Budget Basics: A tutorial that allows the average citizen to log on and find out basic information on state expenditures, revenues and how budgets are developed.
  • Budgeting for Kids: A fully interactive children’s section that offers games, cartoons and interactive lessons on budgets and government finance.
  • Vendor Income and Expense Watch (V.I.E.W.): A pioneering effort by Treasurer Todd Hollenbach that allows citizens to search all of the state’s vendor and contractor data.
  • Links, links and more links: Providing taxpayers easy access to state audits, investments, tax incentives, election finances and more.

“We are proud of this bipartisan, interagency effort to launch this Web site,” stated Finance and Administration Sec. Jonathan Miller, chair of the Governor’s e-Transparency Task Force. “But we have not finished perfecting Kentucky’s Open Door. Nor will we ever be. This site will be ever-evolving and ever-improving; it will be our continuing goal to refine and supplement this invaluable taxpayer resource.”

"We have been pleased to work with the administration on this very important initiative," said State Auditor Crit Luallen. "As Auditor, I'm a strong advocate for transparency in all areas of government. Our citizens deserve to know how their tax dollars are being spent, and now with Kentucky Open Door, the information is available to them."

As of January 1, this Web site features all financial data from the statewide accounting system subject to disclosure under current law, through the policy established by the Governor’s Task Force.

“People have a right to know how State Government spends their money,” said State Treasurer Todd Hollenbach. “Through e-transparency, the citizens of the commonwealth will have a tool to scrutinize the spending of their tax dollars.”

“Placing our state’s spending online is an important step for our commonwealth’s fiscal health by holding those who spend taxpayer dollars more accountable,” said Secretary of State Trey Grayson.  “I want to thank Governor Beshear, Treasurer Hollenbach, State Representative Jim DeCesare, and the team in my office who made our spending available online last year, for taking leadership roles in this important effort to shine a brighter light on how taxpayer dollars are used.  This significant step will be of benefit to Kentucky taxpayers for years to come, and I look forward to working with the legislature to pass legislation to ensure its perpetuity.”

From the home page, citizens can access a list of features that are coming soon, as well as their estimated arrival dates. The Web site also offers an opportunity for citizens to weigh in on efficiency ideas, as well as suggestions for improvements of the site. Kentucky citizens are encouraged to go to www.opendoor.ky.gov to find out more about how their tax dollars are being spent.

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