State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) voted in favor of House Bill 46, legislation that greatly improves government transparency by making it easier for Ohioans to search state government spending during each fiscal year.
House Bill 46 requires the Treasurer of State to establish and maintain the Ohio State Government Database on the Treasurer’s website. Ohio residents would be able to use the database at no charge to track and monitor the state’s expenditures.
"Constituents all over my District and all over Ohio are frustrated when government operates in a vacuum,” Koehler said. “House Bill 46 puts the great work of State Treasurer Josh Mandel into law. When it comes to disclosing how tax dollars are spent, the Treasurer's online checkbook makes our state government most transparent. I am glad we have made this a permanent tool for the public to use, no matter who is in office."
In December 2014, current State Treasurer Josh Mandel unveiled a similar database known as OhioCheckbook.com, which provides the public access to how state tax dollars are being spent. However, under existing law, the online database could be taken down by a future treasurer. House Bill 46 would permanently implement that service into statute, and thereby ensure that future state treasurer’s would maintain that resource, regardless of political affiliation.
The bill specifies that the website:
- Include certain information with specific search and filter options
- Provide charts and graphs to be created by the Treasurer’s Office
- Allow public comment on the database’s functionality and utility
- Not include confidential information or information that is not recognized under state law as a public record
House Bill 46 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.