Governor Bredesen Shines Light on State Finances

Monday, May 04, 2009 | 06:28am

NASHVILLE - Continuing a commitment to government transparency, Governor Phil Bredesen today announced a new Web site where citizens can see how tax revenues are spent.  The new site is 

“This makes it easier for taxpayers to access information by aggregating data in a centralized place on the state’s Web site,” Bredesen said. “The commitment to openness and transparency I made from the beginning of my administration takes another important step forward with the introduction of this new tool for citizens to access information about state spending.”

Information available at Tennessee’s Open Government site includes:

  • Vendor payments, organized quarterly and by department
  • Travel expenses paid to all state workers, including cabinet-level out-of-state travel
  • Employee salary information

The site is managed by the Department of Finance & Administration, which includes the state’s budget office, the state accounting and payroll divisions as well as the state’s information technology network.

“Establishing this site to make basic information available to taxpayers is part of our continuing effort to make it easier for citizens to see how their taxpayer dollars are being used,” Commissioner Dave Goetz said. “We look forward to gathering input from the General Assembly and citizens of Tennessee as we develop the next levels of information we can make available online.”

The new site brings together information already available, but now accessible at one location, such as public meetings involving state agencies, state audits and financial reports, state contract opportunities and tax collections, as well as budget information.

Citizens can also access a link on the site to give feedback to state officials on the information made available, and what they’d like to see made available as the site matures.

Since taking office in 2003, Bredesen has pushed open the doors of government spending by holding open budget hearings, streamed live on the Internet.  Bredesen also led the move toward a higher level of ethics in government by establishing an ethics committee in 2003 that led to the creation of the Tennessee Ethics Commission.  He set new demands for disclosure from executive branch leadership employees and also pushed for more online access to information related to physicians and health care facilities, as well as information on certain criminal offenders.

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