Follow the money on state websiteBy PETER HIRSCHFELD
Vermont Press Bureau | January 05,2013MONTPELIER — Stung by a D-minus rating for government transparency last year by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, the Shumlin administration has launched an online information center where it says citizens will be able to find out what Montpelier is doing with their tax dollars.
Gov. Peter Shumlin said the new website — www.spotlight.vermont.gov — offers a portal into the inner financial workings of state government.
“Any citizen can go in there and see how revenues come into the state, how their money is spent and what we’re doing with their tax dollars,” Shumlin said.
His office has also launched an online “dashboard” — www.governor.vermont.gov — that aggregates key quality-of-life metrics in a single website. Shumlin said the public can use the dashboard to judge his progress on things like job creation, rates of recidivism, unemployment and highway fatalities.
“This is all about accountability,” Shumlin said.
The administration said the new tools are a work in progress. For instance, under the “Economy” section of the governor’s dashboard Friday morning, the website said Vermont had the fourth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation. In fact, its 5.2 percent seasonally adjusted jobless rate in November ties it for seventh lowest in the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“It’ll be corrected before the end of the day,” said Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding.
And it was. The site by early afternoon reflected the accurate figure.
The fiscal transparency site for the most part aggregates graphs, charts and spreadsheets already being compiled by various state departments and the Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office. By providing residents with a one-stop shop for information they might otherwise have to spend hours combing the web to find, Shumlin said, the site will let them hold government to account.
Deputy Finance Commissioner Sue Zeller has spearheaded the transparency effort and said the site has been designed around the criteria used by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group to rate states.
Shumlin also unveiled a “State of Vermont 2012-2015 Strategic Plan” that he said charts the core mission of state government over the next four years. It is available online at http://aoa.vermont.gov.
firstname.lastname@example.orgMORE IN Vermont NewsMONTPELIER — A bill that would consolidate school districts in the state is generating questions... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Dresden firebombing helped bring Nazis to knees, killed at least 25,000 civilians, men, women, children, dogs, cats; Veena in Sitka, BIG NEWS FLASH! Old guys get grumpy with age.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Update on Center Alley project, review of opiate talk evening at the library and aldermen want kids to wear helmets while riding bikes around town.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Flood watch in effect for Rutland County, developing El Nino shaping up to be extreme this year, Don DeLillo on the season's warming trend and Veena catches digital sniffles, all in today's minute.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Dramatic river rescue in Southern Vermont, Castleton moving ahead on sale of old town office building, Passover celebrated in Woodstock.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Woodstock Ave. lane reconfiguration trial will go forward despite resistance, Rutland city engineer decamps for greener pastures in flatlands, technology changes the way many people file tax returns.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Gulf wildlife still dying from 2010 BP oil spill, Veena in Cabo San Lucas, Gertrude Stein on family living, all in today's minute.