Ohio budget office launches interactive website


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s budget office announced Monday it has made data from its state accounting system available online amid the state treasurer’s long-running push for financial transparency.

The Office of Budget and Management said Ohio’s interactive budget website has been in development for several years.

Spokesman John Charlton said the effort is the brainchild of Budget Director Tim Keen and marks the first time Ohio’s budget office has made the entire accounting system directly accessible to the public.

The site includes links to revenues, expenses and state budget documents. Its home page features five years of state receipts, categorical listings of where money is budgeted and spent and lists of the top suppliers and organizations to receive state payments. The site also includes a graph showing how much is in the state’s Rainy Day fund.

The move follows State Treasurer Josh Mandel’s December 2014 launch of an Ohio online checkbook. His office has gradually added checkbook-level expenditures of state pension funds, some school districts and some local governments and the Google-style searching capability has won the site kudos nationally.

Last month, The Associated Press reported on public comments Mandel made at a real estate conference alleging the office of fellow Republican John Kasich killed legislation to ensure the future of his site. A Kasich spokesman told the AP the governor supported Mandel’s site for reporting local spending data, but more thorough state spending information already was available. The budget office’s site includes income sources as well as expenditures.

On Monday, Mandel’s office complimented the budget office effort.

“We think it’s great more public offices are getting involved with this transparency movement,” spokesman Chris Berry said. “As we have said in the past, regardless of the ways that entities choose to shine sunlight on spending, we applaud them.”

By Julie Carr Smyth

Associated Press

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