Wouldn't it be great if keeping tabs on government spending were as easy as searching the Internet? Imagine a site you could visit that would enable you to search by legislation name, or the name of a particular contractor, or by government agency ? a way to Google the government.
Instead of doing searches like ?furniture, vintage, 1950s?, you could do searches like this: ?Halliburton, contracts, 2007?.
Just such a site was mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, and signed into law in 2006. By early 2008, the public should be able to track the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal disbursements at www.federalspending.gov.
Now, a coalition of public advocacy groups is pushing to replicate this victory at the state level. The Show Me the Spending Coalition is demanding legislation that will bring user-friendly databases of grant and contract spending to the states, providing model legislation, and encouraging the public to contact their representatives through their website at www.ShowMetheSpending.org.
These sites join a host of other online tools that encourage transparency and help track government spending.