Arkansas finance officials unveiled a sneak preview of a state government online checkbook on Wednesday (June 27).
The online data center – found at Transparency.Arkansas.Gov – pools a mountain of revenue and expense data for nearly all of state government.
The web site allows users to drill into an agency’s revenue streams, expenditures, employee salaries, payments to cities and counties, bonded indebtedness, and vendor contracts.
“I do not know what the net effect will be,” said Richard Weiss, director of the Department of Finance and Administration. “It will be in the eye of the beholder I’m sure.”
The checkbook will allow users to download data to Excel spreadsheets or CSV programs. A user can sort the data by Top 10 revenue sources for an agency or state government, as well as expenses or vendor contracts.
Expenditures will include data coming from the state’s AA
SIS accounting program, constitutional officer budgets, the Highway Department, and Lottery Commission. Institutions of Higher Education are not in the state system and will not be displayed in the online checkbook.
Weiss said information will be easier for state officials to access for upper management, state agency fiscal staffs, or legislators.
“It will be a big benefit to them,” Weiss added.
The online checkbook is the outcome of Act 303 of the 2011 General Assembly and was championed by Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R).
Officials say the salary information for state employees will be live on July 1, 2012. Additional information comes online on July 7, 2012. Some items, such as bonded indebtedness, are calculated on a quarterly or annual basis and may not be updated on a daily or weekly basis.
Arkansas’ web site will be the first state in the nation to offer its online checkbook in a web-enabled manner.
One-time costs for the system ran about $558,000. State leaders said ongoing annual costs will total around $250,000.
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