Treasurer Mandel and Rep. Dovilla Announce New Online Checkbook Legislative Effort
COLUMBUS – Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and State Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) announced today the reintroduction of legislation requiring the Ohio Treasurer’s office to publish and maintain an online database of state spending.
Last year, Treasurer Mandel launched OhioCheckbook.com, putting all state spending online for the first time in Ohio history. OhioCheckbook.com includes more than $408 billion worth of spending over the past seven fiscal years, displaying approximately 112 million transactions and approximately 3.9 billion pieces of spending information.
House Bill 46 would require the Ohio Treasurer to continue to host and publish this fully searchable state agency expenditures database online. This legislation also places in statute a requirement that the Treasurer’s office host fully searchable databases that display salaries of state employees and local school district education employees.
HB 46 is a reintroduced version of last year’s HB 175, which also sought to codify the transparency database and ensure that future treasurers maintain the website and keep this valuable spending information online and up-to-date.
OhioCheckbook.com has received an overwhelmingly positive reception from Ohio taxpayers, good government groups and news organizations throughout the state since its launch. The website sets a new national transparency standard and gives Ohioans unprecedented access to follow how their money is being spent.
“OhioCheckbook.com opens the state’s checkbook for the first time in Ohio history and empowers citizens to hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable,” said Treasurer Mandel. “Launching OhioCheckbook.com was an important first step, but we must enshrine transparency in state law to ensure that future generations of Ohioans continue to have access to this information. Ohioans have a right to know how their hard earned money is being spent.”
“I commend Treasurer Mandel for launching OhioCheckbook.com, an easily accessible, searchable database of state expenditures for our taxpayers to hold state government accountable for spending,” said Rep. Dovilla. “This new website is arguably the best of its kind in the Nation. HB 46 will codify this database and ensure that future treasurers, regardless of political affiliation or commitment to transparency, maintain this important tool that already is providing more accountable government to our state’s residents.”
During the 130th General Assembly, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Rep. Dovilla’s bill with overwhelming bipartisan support, 86-8, on June 4, 2014. Unfortunately, the clock ran out on the lame-duck session and the Ohio Senate adjourned before bringing the bill to a vote.
HB 46 has been referred to the House State Government Committee and a full list of HB 46 co-sponsors can be found below. A list of third party supporters may also be found below.
OhioCheckbook.com is part of Treasurer Mandel’s Treasurer’s Transparency Project. For more information on the Project please visit www.OhioTreasurer.gov/Transparency. Ohio’s online checkbook can be found at OhioCheckbook.com.
SUPPORT FOR OHIOCHECKBOOK.COM & HB 46:
“Kudos to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for unveiling the best website I’ve seen to easily slice-and-dice how government spends money. OhioCheckbook.com is a great tool for journalists and anyone who supports open government in Ohio. Treasurer Mandel has done a service to all of Ohio with this website, and it’s very important to put into statute that it continues to be maintained into the future.”
- Dennis Hetzel, Executive Director of the Ohio Newspaper Association and President of the Ohio Coalition for Open Government
“Access to state spending online encourages the public to ask questions and government officials to be thrifty. Ongoing access to this information is important because it reinforces government accountability to taxpayers.”
- Catherine Turcer, Common Cause Ohio
“Efforts like the Ohio Checkbook are critical for the future of transparency in Ohio. In the long-run, the only way Ohio taxpayers are going to be able to hold government accountable for how it spends their money is to see exactly what the government is doing. This lies at the heart of what The Buckeye Institute has long pushed for with our own public salary databases.”
- Greg Lawson, The Buckeye Institute
“The Ohio Society of CPAs has long supported increased transparency throughout government. Treasurer Mandel’s online checkbook helps open the books for taxpayers across Ohio and is a step in the right direction when it comes to increasing government transparency.”
- Scott Wiley, President and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs
“As an organization that advocates for open government, the Sunlight Foundation finds that when governments put valuable public information online, citizens have greater access to it and can more effectively use it to ensure that government is working in their best interests. By requiring that the state make government expenditure data available online in easily searchable, sortable, and downloadable formats, the expenditure database described in HB 46 represents an important demonstration of state’s interest in being transparent and accountable to its citizens. We very much hope that the legislature will decide to pass this bill.”
- Emily Shaw, Sunlight Foundation
LIST OF HB 46 CO-SPONSORS:
Rep. Louis Blessing (District-29; Colerain Township)
Rep. Terry Boose (District-57; Norwalk)
Rep. Tim Brown (District-3; Bowling Green)
Rep. Timothy Derickson (District-53; Hanover Township)
Rep. Mike Duffey (District-21; Worthington)
Rep. Cheryl Grossman (District-23; Grove City)
Rep. Bob Hackett (District-74; London)
Rep. Steve Hambley (District-69; Brunswick)
Rep. Terry Johnson (District-90; McDermott)
Rep. Ron Maag (District-62; Lebanon)
Rep. Rick Perales (District 73; Beavercreek)
Rep. Jeff Rezabek (District-43; Clayton)
Rep. Kristina Roegner (District-37; Hudson)
Rep. Mark Romanchuk (District-2; Ontario)
Rep. Tim Schaffer (District-77; Lancaster)
Rep. Gary Scherer (District-92; Circleville)
Rep. Andrew Thompson (District-95; Marietta)
Rep. Nino Vitale (District-85; Urbana)
Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (District-54; Mason)