Arizona State Treasurer Dean Martin has launched a new, free Web site where people can go online and see every dime the state government's spending.
The site, azcheckbook.com, touts "Government transparency at your fingertips," and includes an enormous wealth of information on every expenditure by every state agency in the past year.
"I don't think people really know how much information is there," Martin says, speaking via cell phone on his way to Yuma. "Literally every dime that moves in government has a code attached to it. So for example, if a rock gets thrown through a window in a government building or somebody backs their car into a pole, the government agency needs a code for the money used for that repair, and it can be tracked online."
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The information on the site also provides more accountability for government spending in the state's current budget crisis, Martin says. "Governments tend to not like a lot of transparency. It's not their natural state," he says. "It's a lot harder to ignore your diet when you have to stand naked in front of the mirror.'
Martin, who announced his candidacy for governor in January, says the timing of the launch of azcheckbook.com has nothing to do with his campaign: "We've worked on this site for the past two years. It has nothing to do with the current race. I talked about putting finances online at the beginning of my term. This is what I said I was going to do from day one."
For Martin, the only point of azcheckbook.com is to provide people with detailed information about where their tax dollars are going. "I have a feeling this is going to elicit a lot of questions from people," he says. "And that's good."