July 29, 209
DiNapoli: Now Taxpayers Can See How Their Hometown's Finances Stack Up Against Others at www.openbooknewyork.com
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the public can now do in-depth comparisons of how their community is managing its money in contrast to other local governments on Open Book New York (www.openbooknewyork.com). The Web site includes detailed revenue and spending information, starting in 1996 and ending in 2008, for New York’s 3,100 counties, cities, towns, villages, schools and fire districts.
“The books are even more open now,” DiNapoli said. “This new improvement to Open Book New York lets taxpayers find out how their community measures up against other local governments in New York State. It’s more transparency and more accountability. And it’s a great starting point for discussions about municipal services and the taxes needed to support them. Now more than ever, taxpayers have to get informed and get involved. The more they know about how their government operates the more involved they’ll be and the more accountable their government will be.”
The enhanced local government search allows taxpayers to compare up to four municipalities to each other regardless of the class of government. For example, taxpayers can compare their hometown property tax levies or payments for public safety services against other local governments. The financial data is updated on a quarterly basis.
DiNapoli launched Open Book New York in June 2008 as part of his effort to inform the public about how state and local governments spend the public’s money. The Web site included three other search features, including a new federal stimulus search launched in early July 2009 that 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. A contracts search is also available that includes 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. State agency spending is updated quarterly.
Open Book New York contains glossaries that define all terms and frequently asked questions to help the end-user find an answer quickly. All data in Open Book New York can be downloaded as a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To visit Open Book New York, go to www.openbooknewyork.com.