The state of Connecticut is once again supporting their belief in open government, this time by updating the “Open Connecticut” hub with a new OpenBudget portal. The portal gives citizens and staff a view of how spending and revenue tracks against the state’s actual budgeted amounts throughout the year.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo says of the new feature, “OpenBudget is about destroying the barriers between the public and state government. It’s about opening the books, delivering timely financial information to the public — and giving everyone an opportunity to join the policy conversation.”
OpenBudget not only presents spending and revenue information in a way that is easier for the public to understand, it also provides new tools to drill down through the data. For the first time, online users can easily search through the branches of government by department, fund, and line-item to see how much the state is spending in these areas.
With the launch comes an end to the public’s reliance on unwieldy files and complicated documents to find the information they want, something that Lembo knows has frustrated citizens in the past. “Don’t have time to print off PDFs and comb through endless pages of government financial reports?” he asks, and then continues, “We didn’t think so — and now you don’t have to.”
The new OpenBudget feature instead encourages the public to interactively explore the approved budget and detailed spending data. Users can easily track state revenue streams, compare how state spending matches up with budgeted figures, and view spending trends over the last five years.
For example, members of the public can use the OpenBudget application to see the Transportation Fund broken down by Revenue Category: http://1j3rac4ejwve1p3y0x1gprgk.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/ct_openbudget_launch1.png
They can also easily see how some General Fund line-item expenses performed against their budgeted amounts: http://1j3rac4ejwve1p3y0x1gprgk.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/ct_openbudget_launch2.png
An Ongoing Promise of Open Government
The “Open Connecticut” online hub was launched over two years ago as part of an effort to streamline public access to information about state revenue and spending. The site has been continually updated since its launch, including the addition of the OpenCheckbook application in April, 2015.
OpenCheckbook gives the public the tools to search real-time information about who has received payments from the state of Connecticut for goods or services, and how much they received. Users can search the data by supplier, date, or state department.
Both OpenBudget and OpenCheckbook represent the state of Connecticut’s continuing dedication to transparent government. Lembo describes the new features as being “the latest return on our promise that open government is always a work in progress, with no finish line.”
The new OpenBudget application can be accessed directly at openbudget.ct.gov, or through the full Open Connecticut transparency site at the Office of the State Comptroller’s main page at www.osc.ct.gov.
Watch the full ODTV video to hear all of Connecticut State Comptroller Kevin Lembo’s remarks on the launch of OpenBudget and learn more about Connecticut’s commitment to open government.