Ohio in 2014 launched a searchable database of the state's expenditures, allowing residents to browse how their money was being spent by both the state and participating local governments.
Government watchdogs view it as a model for something that could be applied across the nation. "It's a transparency initiative rooted in the concept of making the government small and the individual big," said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who launched OhioCheckBook.com through his office.
The site, which allows users to search how government is spending money on things like food and travel, has been a hit in the state: Mandel notes that since its launch 16 months ago, 611 local governments and school districts in the state have volunteered to participate. From Dec. 2, 2014, to March 24, 2016, citizens had used the site to search through government expenditures exactly 488,937 times. Continue…