Secretary of State
Grayson Announces New Transparency Initiative, Spending to be Available Online
(Frankfort, KY) Speaking to members of the Center-Right Coalition in Frankfort, KY, Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced a new initiative, Check It Out Kentucky!, which will bring greater accountability for government to the citizens of Kentucky. Through Check It Out Kentucky!, the Office of the Secretary of State is publishing online all expenditures for the Office. The initiative is the first of its kind at the state level in Kentucky to increase the transparency of government spending. Other aspects of the Check It Out Kentucky! initiative will be available in the coming months.
“Taxpayers have the right to know exactly how their tax dollars are being spent,” said Secretary of State Trey Grayson. “By publishing our spending online, citizens will have easy access to this information. I hope that this is just a starting point for Kentucky agencies and that soon, all of Kentucky’s government spending will be made available online.”
Starting today, the Office of the Secretary of State is making spending information available via Microsoft Excel and PDFs every month. The Office is currently developing a searchable website to offer even greater access to the information that will provide expenditures in near-real time. The real-time version will provide Kentucky citizens with an “Online Checkbook” for the Office of the Secretary of State.
Grayson’s efforts are similar to those across the country to increase transparency in government spending. In 2006, President Bush signed the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act. Already, 16 states are moving to an open transparency model of expenditures either by law changes or by executive order.
Kentucky had legislation, HB 105 sponsored by Rep. Jim DeCesare, filed during the 2008 legislative session. Unfortunately, the legislation was not given a vote in House Committee. Today, Grayson urged for its passage.
“I am hopeful that the legislature will pass this important legislation. In their absence, I am grateful to Governor Steve Beshear, who has established an eTransparency Task Force, that will hopefully push the entire executive branch to follow in our footsteps,” remarked Secretary Grayson.
Numerous groups have pushed transparency in state government spending, including Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste, Americans for Prosperity, Citizens for Limited Taxation, and the Family Research Council. In Kentucky, the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions (BIPPS) has been leading the efforts to make expenditures available online.
“On behalf of Kentucky taxpayers, I congratulate Secretary of State Grayson for taking the initiative to provide greater accountability by making expenditures available to public scrutiny. Taxpayers fund every expense made by government – they deserve to track exactly how their tax dollars are spent,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Other agencies should follow Secretary Grayson’s example, and the legislature and Gov. Beshear should move swiftly to enact Rep. DeCesare’s spending transparency legislation.”
“The people’s right to know what their government is doing with their money is a non-partisan no-brainer. We are delighted that Secretary Grayson is leading the charge on this and expect to see a large number of people on both sides of the aisle join him,” remarked David Adams, Director of KentuckyVotes.org, a unit of the BIPPS.
“The Bluegrass Institute is excited to join with Secretary of State Grayson, Gov. Beshear and his new task force in their efforts to advance government transparency in Kentucky,” said its president, Chris Derry. “Citizens deserve to know how state and local governments are spending their money, adhering to their Constitution and planning to restrict their freedoms.”
Grayson has advocated for a number of other transparency initiatives during his tenure. During his first term in office, he placed millions of images online for the first time, including the Governor’s Executive Journal and Enacted Legislation of the Kentucky General Assembly. Grayson has also been a strong advocate for campaign finance disclosure, including campaign finance reform legislation that would require candidates to file more frequently and electronically.
Grayson also challenged officials around the Commonwealth to make more information, in particular government spending information, available to citizens online. “We need to shine a bright light on government so that elected officials and their staffs serve as better stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
To view the information, visit: www.sos.ky.gov/checkitoutky# # #