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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

What Transparency 2.0 could tell you if you could see it

6

December

The new report prepared by Integrity Florida and the First Amendment Foundation on the budget transparency software program offers a window into what the web site would tell legislators and the public if they were given access to it.

The two non-partisan watchdog groups received a password to the secure web site licensed by the Senate and developed by Spider Data Systems, with the permission of the Senate. They then compared the operation of the Transparency 2.0 site with the existing budget transparency sites operated by the Legislature and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater.

The report was delivered to the Senate and governor late Wednesday and will be released to the public at IntegrityFl.org late today. Here's a sample of their findings:

* The Transparency 2.0 site is the only one of the three sites that: provides comprehensive information about all public expenditures in a single website, uses "plain language" categories, allows one-click searches, conducts full-text searches of any part of a vendor name or program or related keyword, has an easy report download function, includes legislative planning documents, includes agency budget documents, includes governor budget documents and legislative budget documents, and includes management services personnel system data.

 

* The only functions provided by all three budget transparency sites are: payments to vendors and financial services accounting system data. The only function provided by the CFO's website and not the others was social media sharing.

* For the 2012-13 budget year, state agencies made budget requests that include the use of $1.3 billion in federal stimulus dollars and more than $21.3 billion in federal government funds. The source of each of these funds can be tracked and compared to previous years.

* Florida's $70 billion budget funds 118,426 state government jobs, including 9,284 temporary workers. How much the state spend on salaries and benefits for these temporary worker can be traced to the department level.

* There are  10,803 vacant jobs in Florida government. The agencies with the most vacancies: criminal justice and corrections with 4,368.

* State agencies have signed 20,199 vendor contracts with a commitment to spend $18.5 billion so far this budget year.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 6, 2012 8:33am]

    

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