Majority Leader Rogers Announces Transparency Update
WOODSTOCK (Dec. 22, 2009) – Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) today announced several exciting changes to the Open Georgia website, www.Open.Ga.gov, which allows users to see how the state is spending tax money. The website was developed as a result of Sen. Rogers’ 2008 “Transparency in Government” legislation that requires state spending information to be accessible on a searchable website.
“Government belongs to the people, and citizens should be able to see where their tax dollars are being spent,” said Rogers. “The Open Georgia website is a searchable portal where anyone can obtain information on state government salaries, travel expenditures, professional services expenditures, government contracts and comprehensive annual reports, to name a few. The new updates provide access to even more information, while also making the site more user-friendly. We are constantly looking at ways to bring Georgians the most transparent information on their tax dollars. I also want to personally thank the Department of Audits for the great work that has made this transparency possible.”
Users can now search payment and contract data from the executive branch and from all state colleges and universities. This data shows all payments made to vendors during the 2009 fiscal year, as well as all obligations for services and products. Users can search the data by Organization Type, Organization or Vendor, which can be downloaded into a PDF or Excel document.
The website now also features three Top 10 dynamic charts that show the top 10 Private Sector Vendor Payments, Obligations and Professional Services Expenditures. There is also a new look and feel to the Performance Review reports application, which features a new way to display and filter reports. Information maintained on the site is updated annually. All new changes are up and running and ready to use.
Other highlights of the site include:
• Program Reviews – 5 years of Program Reviews issued by the Department of Audits and Accounts.
• Salaries and Expense Reimbursements – An annual compilation report in accordance with Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by the American Institution of Certified Public Accountants listing personal services and travel expense paid to personnel of State agencies, boards, authorities, commissions, regional educational service agencies, technical colleges, units of the University System of Georgia and Georgia Military College and local boards of education.
• Professional Services Expenditures – An annual compilation report in accordance with Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by the American Institution of Certified Public Accountants listing amounts paid to various professionals by State agencies, boards, authorities, commissions, regional educational service agencies, technical colleges, units of the University System of Georgia and Georgia Military College and local boards of education.
• The State of Georgia Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – This annual financial report provides statements of financial condition and operations of the State, as well as information on each individual fund and component unit in accordance with generally acceptable accounting principles. This report is produced by the State Accounting Office with the Department of Audits and Accounts serving as the principal auditor and is made available in January of each year.
• The Budgetary Compliance Report (BCR) – This annual report provides information by State fiscal year, concerning financial compliance with the Appropriations Act, as amended. All statements in the BCR are presented in accordance with the State’s regulatory (statutory) basis of accounting and State budget laws which differ from generally accepted accounting principles. This report is produced by the State Accounting Office and is made available in January of each year.
Rogers’ “Transparency in Government Act” was passed under Senate Bill 300, and has been called “the most significant long-term reform” to emerge from the 2008 session by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.
For general questions about Open Georgia, call 1-800-Georgia. For more specific questions regarding financial reports, program reviews or technical assistance, go to http://www.open.ga.gov/contact.html.
Sen. Chip Rogers serves as Senate Majority Leader. He represents the 21st Senate District which includes portions of Cherokee and Cobb counties. He can be reached at his office at 404.463.1378 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Immediate Release:
December 22, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber, Director
Kallarin Richards, Senior Communications Specialist