New Yorkers can now follow the school money

February 1, 2013

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Trevor TenBrink Trevor TenBrink

Trevor was website administrator for EAG from December 2012 to March 2014.
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OLEAN, N.Y. – The New York Office of the State Comptroller has launched Open Book New York, a site dedicated to lifting the veil on government spending. EAGnews has been analyzing spending as well with our “Where Your School Dollars Go” series and we hope to expand that in the coming months.
    
A new website posts New York government expenditures, contracts and tax information.

From the Olean Times Herald:

During the past few months, I’ve been cobbling together information on open meetings, public records and databases. I’ve been getting some really good feedback from the public and government officials alike.

piggybankLast week, we talked about the database of Office of the State Comptroller audits on local governments. This week, we’ll take a look at spending, and how you can track it from the comfort of your computer chair (or at the local library or Dunkin Donuts).

One such database to use is another by the OSC, this one called Open Book New York.

A few years ago, the state decided to use the Internet as a way to cut down on Freedom of Information Law requests for common documents. There are all sorts of good things to find on this site, like searching state contracts for services, as well as looking up local spending figures.

The database uses filings provided by your town, county and school leaders, including their budgets and their year-end annual reports. You can compare municipalities to each other or follow one agency over the course of several years. Figures include tax cap calculations, expenditures, revenues, taxes and tax rates.

The database was just updated a few days ago to include the latest round of budgets for towns and counties. Schools, villages and cities will have to wait until their budgets are wrapped up in the next few months.

Open Book New York can be found at the easy-to-remember www.openbooknewyork.com.

Another website you can use is called See Through New York. The site isn’t run by the government, but by the Empire Center for New York State Policy, a division of the conservative Manhattan Institute for Policy Research think tank. The info there comes straight from the state, though, through Freedom of Information Law requests.

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