TALLAHASSEE, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ — Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink today announced a new Web site that will allow Floridians to track how state government spends their taxpayer dollars. The launch of the Sunshine Spending Web site comes during Sunshine Week, the annual celebration of Florida’s dedication to making state and local government more accessible to the public.
“Now more than ever, as Florida faces historic economic challenges, the people of Florida need to know that state agencies are investing their hard-earned taxpayer dollars responsibly,” Governor Crist said. “The Sunshine Spending Web site is a great first step that will help citizens hold state government accountable.”
“For the last two years, I have worked to make Tallahassee more open and accountable to Florida’s taxpayers,” said CFO Sink. “I am pleased that Floridians will be able to know exactly who is spending and who is getting their tax dollars, and glad we were able to provide this transparent step at no extra cost to Floridians.”
Updated every night, the Sunshine Spending Web site is an important step toward increased fiscal accountability in state spending. The site allows citizens to conduct a basic search for vendors and other recipients of state funds by the first part of the vendor’s name. It was created using existing resources, with no additional tax dollars spent to create or maintain it.
The Sunshine Spending Web site was produced by the Department of Financial Services in conjunction with representatives from the Governor’s office, Americans for Tax Reform and the James Madison Institute.
Currently, most state agencies include a list of contracts of at least over $25,000 in the open government section of their Web site. In conjunction with this information, the Sunshine Spending Web site will allow citizens to access additional information about payments to vendors.
On Sunshine Spending, citizens can access the following information:
· Payment totals to a vendor for each fiscal year beginning with fiscal year 2004-05. Information for the current fiscal year is updated nightly.
· Detailed information about each payment, including the requesting state agency — the phone number for the agency’s finance and accounting contact person, and document numbers related to the payment to assist with further requests for public records.
For more information about the Sunshine Spending Web site, please visit: www.FLGov.com/sunshinespending or www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SunshineSpending.
About Governor Crist’s Commitment to Open Government
On March 13, 2009, Governor Crist issued “A Week of Sunshine” Proclamation recognizing March 15-21, 2009, as Sunshine Week for the citizens of Florida. The proclamation urges citizens to celebrate Florida’s dedication to making state and local government more accessible to the public.
Governor Crist made his commitment to Florida’s Sunshine Laws evident in his inaugural address. As Florida’s 44th Governor, he made open government a top priority. He quoted President Abraham Lincoln, pledging under his watch that Florida government would be “of the people, by the people and for the people.” The next day, in his first Executive Order, Governor Crist established the Office of Open Government and charged it with providing the Governor’s office and all state agencies the tools necessary to serve the people of Florida in a professional and efficient manner. The Governor created a dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information from day one.
On June 19, 2007, the Governor appointed the Commission on Open Government Reform. He charged the nine-member Commission to review and evaluate the public’s right of access to government meetings and records. The commission held three public hearings throughout the state. The commission submitted its findings and recommendations to the Governor, the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives at the end of 2008.
The Office of Open Government has collaborated with 36 state agencies and 11 state universities to assist citizens seeking access to public records and the public servants who work for them. Additionally, Governor Crist changed the clemency process to make it more transparent for clemency applicants. Furthermore, he issued Executive Order 07-294, creating a Citizens Open Government Bill of Rights to support citizen access to Florida state agencies. Governor Crist also created a partnership with Google Inc. to make state agencies’ Web sites more accessible to the citizens of Florida.
For more information on Governor Crist’s commitment to open government, please visit: www.flgov.com/og_home.