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Plan would put Ohio's 'checkbook' online

Published: Wed, May 8, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Marc Kovac



A Republican lawmaker and the GOP state treasurer want to post Ohio’s checkbook online, enabling residents to keep tabs on state spending, particularly who receives public funds.

State Rep. Mike Dovilla of Berea, R-7th, said he plans to introduce his “Open Ohio” legislation this week to create an online database detailing all of the state’s expenditures. The site would be maintained by the state treasurer’s office and would provide an easy way for users to search checks issued by name or agency.

“Our taxpayers deserve to know what money is being spent on and where their money is being spent,” Dovilla said. “Our taxpayers deserve to know that we are committed as legislators to advancing efficient effective state government that respects them. Quite simply, our taxpayers deserve better. One of the best ways to accomplish this objective is to allow Ohioans themselves to help us root out government waste, fraud and abuse.”

The proposed database would include the date of each state expenditure, the name of the recipient, the agency that offered the payment and the amount of money involved.

Treasurer Josh Mandel also has created a section of his office’s website that lists public employee salaries. He said the expenditure database would serve as a natural progression and provide greater public access to information about state spending.

“This legislation essentially calls for taking the state’s checkbook and putting in on the Internet,” Mandel said, adding, “The more sunlight we can shine on [government spending], the more efficient government will be.”

A report released earlier this year by the Public Interest Research Group gave Ohio a D-plus grade on budget transparency for failing to provide enough public access to its financial dealings. Ohio PIRG spokeswoman Tabitha Woodruff said the legislation announced Tuesday would likely raise the state’s ranking.

“We are encouraged by efforts to provide Ohioans with checkbook-level state budget transparency,” she said in a released statement. “Ohio can do better in tracking public dollars. Open information about the public purse is crucial for democratic and effective government.”

It is not possible to ensure that government spending decisions are fair and efficient unless information is publicly accessible.”


1retired(1 comment)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Real transparency at last???

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2CAFR1(2 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Transparency is NOT how much you are spending from your designated "checking account"..

Transparency IS showing your true gross income (investment; tax; and enterprise) AND true investment balances held from ALL operations.

** Government was NOT supposed to operate at a profit. How did they get around this restriction?

ANSWER: If for example a city had a 100-million dollar profit for the year from any of its operations, at a stroke of a pen they create or deposit into a "liability fund" and poof, there goes the profit re-designated now as a liability.

A personal example would be:

If you and I ran a business for the last twenty years and we now had 1-billion dollars clear. We decide we are going to retire in five-years and want to buy an island in the Bahamas for 700-million dollars. So we create an "advance liability fund", move 700-million dollars into it and now our "net" balance on our books is 300-million dollars. Now if with drafted a "Budget" for our business operations (projection of expenses for the upcoming year) of say 325-million dollars, that budget would show us to be 25-million dollars in the red. If we now actually spent 200-million for the upcoming year, gee, we now have 125-million we can move into our "buy an island liability fund in the Bahamas" zero out our profit, have the ability to buy a bigger island now with 825-million in our fund, and start the process all over again for next year.

Now catch this point: On our accounting of the "buy an island fund', our liability if we left the price at 700-million and the fund balance was 825-million, the "net" balance of the fund is now 125-million dollars. (700-million of the funds balance is a liability to pay). If we modified the liability to 825-million then our "net" fund balance is zero. 825 - 825 = 0

It is important to carefully look at the notes to the financial section of the CAFR. http://obm.ohio.gov/document.aspx?ID=...

What has amazed me after looking over the last twenty years is the following:

Large cities, counties, enterprise operations bring in more money each year than Midas ever dreamed about yet the population is carefully maintained as being oblivious to the basics that we all personally keep up front in our own personal lives:

1. Cash in pocket;
2. Value of investment funds held;
3. and approximate net worth.

From when we are kids up until we die those three factors are resident in our minds in our own personal life, and due to the money involved the government players carefully go out of their way and expend great effort to create a vacuum and void in the cognitive thinking of an entire population. What the government players promote is a 4th item, debt which on their part is an excellent psychological "back you off" tool so you will not look at the basic first three.

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