Bills requiring transparency in government spending make their way through legislative committees.
Some state lawmakers want to allow Wisconsin taxpayers to see exactly what their money is being spent on, including state contracts, memberships, travel, salaries, and public relation firms.
"Regardless of your partisan position, I think most people — Democrats, Republicans, Independents — all think that the people who pay the bills should always have access to the information so they know how our money is being spent."
Assembly Republican Robin Vos ( pronounce ) (R-Racine) says the state spends about 50,000 dollars a year just in late penalties. Considering taxpayers are worried about the budget shortfall, the deteriorating housing market and increasing fuel prices, Senate Republican Mary Lazich ( pronounce ) (R-New Berlin) says government spending needs to be transparent.
"We've got a deficit going on, we've got … looking at a possible recession — hopefully not, but more importantly Wisconsin is one of the highest taxed states in the country and people have had enough."
Vos says much of this information is public record, but it's time-consuming and difficult to find.
"So this will be a common sense, one-stop shop so people can find the answers to their questions and hopefully help to keep their government honest, effective and efficient."
Bills in the Senate ( SB-543 ) and the Assembly ( AB-862 ) require the Administration Department to ensure that all state agency expenditures are available for inspection on a searchable Internet website. Lazich calls this "Google Government — keeping an eye on your tax dollars at work."
"I think government would be much more careful, much more frugal, much more mindful of those expenses if a spotlight is cast on those expenses and the public has easy access, easy navigability by a website to look at what's going on and where those expenditures are."