State Treasurer Pushes Government Spending Transparency in Cleveland
By Joanna Richards
Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel touted his government spending database, OhioCheckbook.com, at the City Club of Cleveland today. He said two Cuyahoga County communities – North Royalton and Euclid – just agreed to sign on.
He said his online database makes state spending more transparent by making it more accessible to the public.
Mandel said in the past, to find out if a company had done business with state government, you’d have to put in official public records requests with every state agency in Ohio. Now, a search by company name will do it.
"If you wanted to search and see if anyone’s stayed at, let’s say, Disney Resorts with your tax money, you can just type in ‘Disney’…Looks like this was FY 2011…Let’s see who thought that was a good idea..." Mandel said, to subdued laughter from the audience. "Aha! The Department of Transportation!"
Mandel said the point isn’t to make anyone look bad, but rather, to deter wasteful behavior by people in government.
Mandel’s office spent over $800,000 to launch the website in December, with data on state spending. Now, he’s pushing for Ohio’s 4,000 local governments to join in. He said about 250 have committed to that. It won’t cost them anything – $2.7 million has been budgeted for the project.