DelawareSpends.com unveiled in effort to increase accountability in government through a user-friendly, searchable online database of state government spending.
DOVER – In recent years the calls for improving accountability and transparency in Delaware’s state government have increased tremendously. As is evident with the State of Delaware’s recent budget shortfall, now more than ever, Delaware’s residents, business leaders and elected officials need to thoroughly analyze how every tax dollar is being spent.
To this end, the Caesar Rodney Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, research and educational institute, has today unveiled DelawareSpends.com – to provide a new, clear look into how state and local tax dollars are spent.
Building upon the movement for open government in Delaware, DelawareSpends.com offers searchable databases of the following public information:
- The entire payroll of all state employees for 2009 (including the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government);
- The entire payroll of all Delaware school district employees for 2009;
- The entire listing of all check payments to vendors from the state for fiscal years 2006, 2007 and 2008 (includes executive branch, judicial branch and school district expenditures; does not include legislative branch expenditures);
- The entire payroll of Kent County employees for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009; and
- The entire payroll of Sussex County employees for 2009.
- The entire listing of vendor payments for New Castle County for fiscal years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 (through June 16).
“Delaware Spends is the most thorough and comprehensive government transparency website in Delaware – encompassing not just state data, but county data as well. Making this information available in a user-friendly format will help achieve more efficiencies and effectiveness from government,” stated Garrett Wozniak, policy director for the Caesar Rodney Institute.
He continued, “With this information, all Delawareans can see just where their tax dollars are being spent. Collectively, we can identify duplicative services within levels of government and between levels of government.”
Payrolls are searchable by first and last name, title, department, agency, wages, benefits and total compensation.
Vendor payment information is searchable by vendor name, vendor address, department, agency, amount of purchase and description/categorization of purchase.
DelawareSpends.com will expand in the near future to include additional payroll and spending information from Delaware’s 57 municipalities as well as state contracts and disbursements to local governments and school districts.
“Of all the information that is now available at the public’s fingertips, it is the checkbook data that the Caesar Rodney Institute is most interested in analyzing,” Wozniak said. “There are tremendous cost savings available if we can dig into the data and find them.”
A few examples of what you will find are listed below.
- From January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009, state employees received more than $76.5 million in benefits.
- In fiscal year 2008, the State of Delaware spent over $3.1 billion in check payments to Delaware businesses and over $1 billion to out-of-state firms (over a quarter of the check expenditures), equating to over $3 million dollars per day sent out of state.
- The other top states to receive checks from the State of Delaware were:
- Over $245 million to Pennsylvania firms;
- Over $236 million to New Jersey firms;
- Over $138 million to Maryland based firms;
- Over $54 million to Georgia based firms - that is a bit more than a million tax dollars a week – spent in Georgia
- Through June 30, 2009, Sussex County has paid 540 employees over $10.5 million in pay and over $7.3 million in benefits.
- 862 state and school district employees make $100,000 annually or more totaling over $50.9 million in salaries.
- In 2008, the State of Delaware spent over $4.3 million on association dues and conference fees.
- In fiscal year 2008, New Castle County spent:
- Over $47,000 on animal food
- Over $85,000 on hotel accommodations
- Over $239,000 on office supplies
- Over $7.5 million on other professional services
“It is our hope that the people of Delaware, from citizens to the media to government officials working on budget issues, will find this information useful. The site is set up to engage users; to create a community of data analysts, ad hoc researchers and concerned citizens.” concluded Wozniak.
The Caesar Rodney Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, research and educational organization founded in 2008. CRI is an affiliate of the State Policy Network and is committed to being a catalyst for improved performance, accountability, and efficiency in Delaware government. For more information, please visit www.caesarrodney.org.