Ore. lawmakers call for spending records to be posted online

Ore. lawmakers call for spending records to be posted online
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Some Oregon legislators want state agencies to join a movement in other states to put records of their income and spending online for the public to see.

The information would include also audit reports, credit card statements and some information about salaries.

"It just seems like such an empowering tool for taxpayers, especially now when were facing what we're facing with the budget," said Republican Rep. Kim Thatcher of Keizer, one of the sponsors.

According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, 12 states post all of their state spending, six post the checkbooks of selected departments and another seven recently have passed laws ordering the creation of online spending Web sites.

Fifteen more, including Oregon, are considering legislation.

The Open Books Oregon Project would require the state to create a searchable Web site by Jan. 1, 2010, listing revenues and expenditures for all state agencies. It has 27 sponsors.

Oregon's proposal calls for a single searchable Web site that includes, for each year of a biennium:

— Revenues and expenditures for each agency, including the source of money for the expenditures, a description of the purpose of the expenditure and the expected performance outcome.

— A copy of any audit report issued by the secretary of state.

— Salaries and total compensation for all elected officials in the executive and legislative department.

— A link to a transaction register, listing all expenditures of more than $100, for each agency.

— A link to all monthly credit card statements.

— A yearly list of all state agency full-time positions grouped by class, with actual compensation for each position of more than $50,000 per year.

The list would not identify employees by name.

In 2006, Congress passed spending-transparency legislation creating a publicly searchable Web site for all federal contracts and grants of more than $25,000, at www.usaspending.gov.

A spokesman for Gov. Ted Kulongoski, said he could not comment because the bill hasn't been analyzed, but in general Kulongoski supports efforts to open government.

Oregon's current budget, including all funds, is about $50 billion, and includes about 50,000 state workers.