In 2014, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group noted in its annual ranking of states’ transparency spending that Ohio’s checkbook was one of three states that could not be ‘effectively searched at all.’ It was dubbed a ‘lagging state’ and branded with a near-failing D- grade.
However, thanks to Treasurer Josh Mandel’s new online checkbook, which allows anyone to search through $408 billion in state spending over the last seven fiscal years, Ohio has soared from 46th place to the top of the list, earning a perfect score in U.S. PIRG’s 2015 report.
“Treasurer Mandel’s office has taken huge strides to ensure that information about state expenditures is accessible to the public. In the six years that we’ve released this report on spending transparency, this is the highest score that any state has achieved,” Phineas Baxandall, Senior Policy Analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said in a statement. “As other states seek to improve their online spending transparency, they can look to OhioCheckbook.com as an example.”
Indeed. In an interview with Townhall last month, Mandel said he hopes what’s now been done in Ohio will set off a race for transparency nationwide.
“I'm doing this because I believe the people of Ohio have a right to see how their tax money is being spent,” he said in a statement. “My vision is to create an army of citizen watchdogs who are empowered to hold the politicians accountable.”