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July 1, 2009

 

DiNapoli Unveils Federal Stimulus Spending and Contracts

on WWW.OPENBOOKNEWYORK.COM

New York’s “Checkbook” for Federal Stimulus Spending

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New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the public can now track how New York is spending federal stimulus funds on his Web site Open Book New York (www.openbooknewyork.com). The Web site includes easy to find information about which companies are doing federal stimulus work, how much they got paid and when. DiNapoli said the site was New York’s “checkbook” for stimulus spending, and that Open Book New York opens up the state’s books for the first time.

“New York is expecting $26.7 billion in federal stimulus funds over the next two years,” DiNapoli said. “Even in the face of the paralysis in the senate, state government needs to keep working to protect taxpayer dollars. We’ve seen what happens when we don’t watch those dollars closely. We’ve seen big corporations use TARP money for questionable, even outrageous, purposes. New Yorkers have a right to know how their tax dollars are spent. We’re opening up the checkbook for them. In these tough times, New York families are watching every dime in their family budgets. Now they can track every federal stimulus dime spent in New York.”

DiNapoli’s office is responsible for tracking appropriated federal stimulus funds, reviewing and approving all state contracts supported by federal stimulus funds, paying the state’s bills and providing oversight to ensure funds are spent appropriately.

DiNapoli launched Open Book New York in June 2008 as part of his effort to inform the public about how government spends their money. The Web site also contains searchable databases of more than 60,000 active state contracts and spending for 94 state agencies and public authorities and spending for 3,100 counties, cities, towns, villages and schools and fire districts.

The new federal stimulus search in Open Book New York shows the public contracts and payments supported with federal stimulus funds. Users can search by state agency, payee, major category of spending and federal program title. Data is updated nightly and can be downloaded as a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet.

DiNapoli has also designated staff to conduct in-depth, expedited reviews of contracts involving federal stimulus money. His staff is examining all contracts looking for companies who may be pricing goods or services higher than what is reasonable to ensure federal funds are used efficiently. Since stimulus funds are “use it or lose it” dollars ― the federal government requires that New York spend this money quickly or forfeit its share ― DiNapoli’s staff has been approving stimulus-related contracts in an average of 3.5 days.

The other search features in Open Book New York include the contracts search where users can find state contracts by state agency, company, timeframe and dollar amount. Data is updated nightly. The state agencies and public authorities search includes a breakdown of spending on contractual services, travel, equipment, grants, salaries and wages, employee benefits and supplies and materials. The state agency spending is updated quarterly.

Users can also search spending for 3,100 counties, cities, towns, villages and schools and fire districts and compare year-to-year revenue and spending trends for the last 11 years. Detailed breakdowns by revenue type and spending category are also included. Data is added on a quarterly basis.

Open Book New York contains glossaries that define all terms and frequently asked questions to help the end-user find an answer quickly. The public can also call the Comptroller’s help desk at 866-370-4672 (toll-free) or (518) 408-4672 or send an e-mail to helpdesk@osc.state.ny.us.

To visit Open Book New York, go to www.openbooknewyork.com.

Click here for a list of all contracts supported by stimulus funds or visit http://wwe2.osc.state.ny.us/transparency/arra/arraData_ContractsListGIS.cfm.

Click here for a fact sheet that provides details on the four database tools available in Open Book New York or visit http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/june09/062909factsheet.htm.

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