Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Want to follow the money? Planned state Web site will help

TALLAHASSEE — How much of your tax dollars do state workers earn? What is each state contract worth?

With the click of a computer mouse, Floridians could soon start finding out all the answers on a new Web site that the Florida Senate wants to build.

"This puts Florida's checkbook online," said Sen. Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican.

But the new Transparency Florida initiative won't start up overnight. An initial version should be up and running by July.

It won't be free, either. Estimated cost: $500,000 to launch, and $75,000 to maintain. State workers — rather than an outside vendor — would operate the site.

"The savings could be many-fold," said Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales. "We could effectively turn 18 million Floridians into auditors to make sure we're spending every dollar as frugally as possible."

The state's $65.4 billion budget and much of its documentation are online now, but it's not user friendly and parts of it can be unintelligible to the uninitiated. Under the Transparency Florida site, senators say, Floridians can click on Frequently Asked Questions.

"This book is almost impossible for me to go through," said Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate. "The only people who would really be opposed to this sort of Web site, this sort of transparency, are people who would be afraid that other people would actually find out what they put in the budget."

Also, viewers should be able to find trust-fund balances, historical spending data, payroll information and records of individual checks for contracts. None is available online now.

Gov. Charlie Crist, who has pledged to run "the most open administration," praised the initiative.

Marc Caputo can be reached at

Want to follow the money? Planned state Web site will help 03/11/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 5:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill


    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Epilogue: Tony Scaglione served Ybor delicacies and laughs


    Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.

    Tony Scaglione - the longtime owner of Tony's Ybor Restaurant - has died.  He was 87. Credit: Larry Scaglione
  4. What you need to know for Friday, July 21


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during minicamp this summer. He said the Bucs could be "a bad--- football team." [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp


    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they …