How much do you know about what the government does with the money it collects from you? While I’m sure you have a general idea of what amount is allocated to education, what portion is for the police, I’m sure you don’t know the exact dollar amounts or who all of the government vendors are that receive these funds.
At the state level, West Virginia has implemented the new layer of transparency to show citizens the cost of specific items. The state has undertaken an initiative, wvCheckbook.gov, to keep track of expenditures, and recently, Raleigh County, WV has made plans to follow suit with raleighcountycheckbook.gov.
The benefits of sites like these are numerous, and West Virginia believes it will reduce the cost of doing audits by between 25 and 30 percent. Benefits aren’t strictly monetary though, as this is a substantive way to increase public trust in government and identify fraud occurring within the government. In terms of all those third party vendors working for the government, it also lets you know who they are and what bids they’re winning. Great for transparency and great to create a competitive environment to bid on government projects.
Raleigh County is likely to likely to be followed by many more in the coming months and years as the state has purchased websites for each county. Additionally, while the state will accept an initial nominal payment from counties, the websites will be given to counties who can’t find money in their budget for them free of charge.
Transparency goes a long way in creating trust between governments and the citizens who fund its programs. At Extract, we try to empower governments to be more transparent by being able to put court and land records online, without the fear of citizens’ private information being available to those who might misuse it.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: CHRIS MACK
Chris is a Marketing Manager at Extract with experience in product development, data analysis, and both traditional and digital marketing. Chris received his bachelor's degree in English from Bucknell University and has an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. A passionate marketer, Chris strives to make complex ideas more accessible to those around him in a compelling way.