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Thought Leadership Thursday

Building A More Transparent Future, Together

Building A More Transparent Future, Together

Thought Leadership Thursday Article

Building A More Transparent Future, Together
August 6, 2020
Robert Sprague
State Treasurer
Ohio

Dear Colleagues,

For more than five years, Ohioans and the media have turned to the Ohio Checkbook for critical information on government spending. To that end, one of my highest priorities as Treasurer is to make sure the Ohio Checkbook remains a valued resource for taxpayers. And in November, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted and I announced a collaboration to carry this online transparency portal into the future.

Launched in 2014, OhioCheckbook.com, housed in the Treasurer’s office, was an innovative tool that gave taxpayers a window into state and local government spending. Likewise, Ohio’s Interactive Budget, run by the state’s Office of Budget and Management (OBM), provided real-time reporting of state financial information.

Both websites offered valuable information, but why should we double our efforts to provide much of the same data?

When government works together, it serves its people better.

The result of our partnership with the DeWine-Husted Administration is the new OhioCheckbook.gov, a stronger, more cost-effective resource for placing transparency at Ohioans’ fingertips.

The newly reimagined OhioCheckbook.gov is the streamlined site that brings together the best of the former websites and includes new features to bolster transparency and accountability. This next generation of the Ohio Checkbook includes all state revenues instead of just expenditures and provides Ohioans with a more complete fiscal picture. In fact, we’re pulling detailed revenues and expenditures directly from the state’s data system and updating them daily. Additionally, OhioCheckbook.gov also provides spending information for participating local governments at no cost to them.

Finding information on OhioCheckbook.gov is easy – visitors to the site can conduct Google-like searches of state and local spending while displaying interactive charts and graphs in a user-friendly format. Filtering and sorting features allow users to find specific information, such as keyword searches.

What’s more, the collaboration amounts to real savings on Ohio’s balance sheet. By leveraging the State of Ohio's data management system, we’re sharing more information while delivering projected savings of approximately $900,000 per year. As we work to seek out efficiencies and reduce spending, these savings could not have come at a better time.

With this new and improved website, we’re building on Ohio’s innovative legacy and creating a more robust and efficient tool for Ohioans to get involved in the decisions impacting our communities and state. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office if you are thinking of doing something like this in your state, and we can share best practices with you.


Sincerely,
Robert Sprague
Ohio Treasurer

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