Check Out State's Financial Website

October 16, 2015

State Rep. Peter Tercyak joined state Comptroller Kevin Lembo in hosting an open house to demonstrate the utility of the state’s financial transparency website – OpenConnecticut – including newer features that allow users to delve deeper into exploring state dollars.

The new features, “OpenBudget” and “OpenCheckbook,” may be particularly useful to those both inside and outside of government, including legislators, commissioners, legislative and agency staff, non-profits, private businesses, municipal leaders, government watchdogs and anyone with an interest in state policy. Both features can be accessed at http://www.osc.ct.gov/openCT/

"This is the kind of information that government should be making available to people,” Rep. Tercyak said. “Good job, Comptroller Lembo, for setting up these websites. I expect I’ll get more detailed suggestions from constituents the next time we’re discussing the budget and I’ll make sure to pass those along.”

“These tools allow users – both inside and outside of government – to access state information like never before and download the raw data,” Lembo said. “We want to make sure that everyone understands the full scope of the site’s new features and how to use them. These sites are about putting state financial information in a place where we can all see it – and then finally have real discussions about real data, rather than engage in hollow debates over what’s fact or fiction.”

Lembo, Tercyak and others explored a broad range of data – including state funding to municipalities, dollars paid to particular vendors and total state revenue amounts received for all permits and fees.

Here are the new OpenConnecticut applications at a glance:

OpenCheckbook (accessed directly at opencheckbook.ct.gov):  Allows you to search real-time information (updated nightly) about who received payments from the State of Connecticut for goods or services and how much they received. Data can be explored by searching for specific payee names – whether it be a business, individual, municipality or non-profit – or by browsing by government function. The application allows the user to drill down from aggregated spending accounts all the way down to each individual payment to a payee.

OpenBudget (accessed directly at openbudget.ct.gov): Allows the public to explore the state budget, view how state spending and revenue is tracking against the state’s actual budgeted amounts throughout the year (data is updated monthly), and it allows the user to quickly and easily look at spending trends for each line item or higher-level spending category over the last five years.

“There may be cases where people use these sites to answer important state financial questions – but, in some cases, these sites will pose new and unexpected questions that we never thought about before,” Lembo said. “For example, why are property tax credits for veterans being used substantially more in some towns than others? There may be valid and simple answers to some of these questions – or there may be a need to ensure that such programs are meeting their intended goals.”

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