Columbus - 

State Representative Jim Butler (R – Oakwood) has introduced House Bill 507, which will require the Auditor of State to establish and maintain a new, easy-to-use system for taxpayers to see how local governments are utilizing their resources – the Government Expenditure Transparency Tool. 


The bill contains language to ensure the tool will be easily accessible on the Auditor’s website, as well as on local governments’ websites.  The tool will be designed in an intuitive format so the public will be able to ascertain the spending patterns of their municipality or township and compare it to others around the state with minimal effort.  In addition to the ability to compare spending between communities, the tool will also provide qualitative data, such as spending for services on a per citizen and per student basis.  The Government Expenditure Transparency Tool will also be required to incrementally increase in detail after its implementation, in the manner prescribed below:



  • Not later than six months after the bill’s effective date, the website shall: categorize local government entities by community type (e.g., urban, suburban, rural) and by population; present, rank, and compare expenditures made during a fiscal year of a local government by major categories of expenditure, total value, and per capita value; and explain the fiscal year used by each local government.

  • Not later than eighteen months after the bill’s effective date, the website shall: present subcategories within the major categories of expenditures, rank local government entities within the subcategories, and allow viewers to compare local government entities within the subcategories.

  • Not later than thirty months after the bill’s effective date, the website shall: present detailed expenses within each subcategory (such as maintenance expenses and the total annual expenses a local government incurs per employee) and present each local government’s contracts related to expenditures (such as supply or labor contracts).


“As we all know, local budgets in communities around Ohio are as tight as they have been at any time in recent memory, and people deserve to know precisely how funds are being allocated to ensure that their local officials are acting as responsible stewards of what are, in many cases, preciously scarce resources,” said Representative Butler.  “Having this local government transparency and comparison tool readily available will provide the public with much better insight in to the inner workings of government, which will allow them to hold public officials accountable and encourage wiser allocation of tax dollars.”

 
 
 
  
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