Important Initiatives Riding on 2009 Session

Senator Chip Pearson
Sen. Chip Pearson

By Sen. Chip Pearson
ATLANTA (January 9, 2009) – The 2009 legislative session has begun and is shaping up to be a crucial time for Georgia as the legislature determines how to best carry the state through these difficult economic times. The local media has been saturated with stories on the critical issues facing our state, including the budget, our economy, and the transportation system.

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South Georgia at the State Capitol

By State Sen. Greg Goggans

One of government’s fundamental roles is to assist its citizens. As a state senator, I strive every day to help the people who have decided to make our great state their home. Through the launching of initiatives such as GeorgiaHealthInfo.gov, Open.Ga.Gov and 1-800-Georgia, Georgians can access information needed to make decisions on issues essential to their everyday lives.

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New “Transparency” Website Up and Running

ATLANTA (January 5, 2009) – A new Georgia law gives Internet users access to information on billions of dollars in state spending. The “Transparency in Government Act” authored by Senator Chip Rogers requires state spending information be placed on a searchable website allowing Georgia taxpayers easy access to where their tax dollars are being spent.

“This is a great day for Georgia taxpayers. We have taken a major step toward transparent and easily accessible accounting information of how every state tax dollar is spent,” said Senator Rogers. “The very best way to prevent wasteful government spending is to let those paying the bills see exactly where their money is going.”

The new website, www.Open.Ga.Gov, began operation on January 1, 2009. Visitors to the site can easily locate information on state government salaries, travel expenditures, professional services expenditures, government contracts, and comprehensive annual reports. Performance audits, program evaluations, and special examinations released by the Department of Audits and Accounts over the last five years are also available. The information maintained on the site is updated annually.

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.

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 chip.rogers@senate.ga.gov.

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2009
For Information Contact:
Raegan Weber,Director
Matt Colvin, Communications Associate
matthew.colvin@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028