State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
I have introduced legislation to create a website that would show all state expenditures. The user-friendly searchable website would be maintained by the Wisconsin Department of Administration (DOA).
Anyone could go to the website and see how the state is spending your money. Legislation that I have introduced would require that on July 1, 2009, the DOA must ensure that all state agency expenditures are available for inspection. The DOA would categorize expenditure information on the Web site by state agency and expenditure category. Within each category, DOA must show the amount and purpose of each expenditure exceeding $100 and the entity or person receiving your money.
All of the following information relating to state agency grants and contracts would be made available to the general public: a copy of the contract and grant award; the state agency making the grant or entering into the contract; the name and address of the person receiving the grant or entering into the contract; the purpose of the grant or contract; the amount of the grant or the amount the state agency must expend under the contract; and the name of the state fund the grant is paid or moneys are expended under the contract.
My bill authorizes frequent updates so the public is aware as quickly as possible about how their tax money is being spent. State agencies will be required to make the information available to the DOA not later than 24 hours after an expenditure is made or an agency makes a grant or enters into a contract.
Several states have already adopted this philosophy called the Google-government trend, a movement that has tremendous benefits for taxpayers. A quick and easy Internet clearinghouse would throw a laser beam on government spending, the increased focus having great potential for significant savings.
As I researched this idea, I was told that the websites already in use in other states are very popular, getting numerous hit and queries daily. Certainly, a similar website for Wisconsin would also get heavy volume, given that we live in one of the highest-taxed states in the nation. The Wisconsin Taxpayer Alliance reports the average tax paid in Wisconsin in 2006 was $2,716. Wouldn’t you like to know where your tax dollars go?
I’ve written about this issue in the past on my community blogs. You can read the articles here and here.