Virginia Increases Budget Transparency Online

Published August 1, 2009

Virginia taxpayers scored a big win in the 2009 General Assembly session when Gov. Tim Kaine (D) signed a bill putting more of the state’s budget and expenditures online in a user-friendly format easily accessible to the general public.

“We are thrilled to get this bill through,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax). “When people of Virginia can see more clearly what’s going on in government, they can reel it in.”

Builds on Existing System

Virginia’s existing transparency Web site, Commonwealth Data Point, was created in 2005 and allowed online access to some of the state budget. But it offered little detail and gave no context to the numbers posted.

The new law, signed by the governor in April, adds more layers of information to the online budget numbers. Most notably, it requires a consistent format for listing vendors, so expenditures to the same vendor can be easily tracked.

Krystal Slivinski ([email protected]) is vice president for government affairs at Tertium Quids, a nonpartisan issue advocacy organization in Virginia that strongly backed the transparency bill. A longer version of this story was published earlier in Budget & Tax News.