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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

Rhode Island Independent Transparency Site Launched

Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 08, 2008

Recently, the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition Foundation launched its new transparency website, www.themoneytrail.org. This site provides citizens with access to public documents from several levels of Rhode Island government, including the state itself, municipalities, and school districts. These documents provide financial data about government budgets, contracts, and payroll information. Gathered from individual government entities per requests from the Foundation, the contents of the site are also available for download and analysis.

Although this is a large step forward for transparency in the state, there is still much ground to cover: accordingly, www.themoneytrail.org helps citizens take action. Residents of Rhode Island have the right to request government documents, according to the Rhode Island "Access to Public Records Act," but those documents are not always readily available. Accordingly, citizens can petition officials through www.themoneytrail.org to provide the Foundation with documents that it has requested but have not yet been rendered. The site also has a blog for discussions of transparency and accountability.

www.themoneytrail.org is in its first phase, and will continue to expand as more government entities comply with the Foundation's requests for financial information. Additionally, the Foundation will support legislation this year mandating that all public records be available electronically upon request. Currently, obtaining financial data can be costly and time-consuming, so until such legislation has passed, www.themoneytrail.org will digitize the information it receives and make it available on the site.

The Rhode Island Statewide Coalition is a member of the www.showmethespending.org coalition, a group of national, state, and local organizations committed to transparency in government spending. www.showmethespending.org and the National Taxpayers Union send out weekly updates on recent transparency developments; this week's will feature www.themoneytrail.org. To sign up for this free letter, visit the homepage of www.showmethespending.org.




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