Checkbook NYC Allows Public to Track How Taxpayer Money is Spent

Checkbook NYC Allows Public to Track How Taxpayer Money is Spent

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For New Yorkers, holding lawmakers fiscally responsible can now be as simple as logging online and clicking a button.

That’s goal of a Checkbook NYC , a new Web site unveiled earlier this month by city comptroller John Liu, the New York Times reported.

Liu told the Times that he wanted to make is easier for the public to find out how money is spent, offering more accountability and transparency that will hopefully lead to more responsible spending.

“It’s about open government, intrinsic accountability and creating strong incentives towards saving taxpayer money,” Liu said at a news conference in Manhattan.

The database will reportedly cost about $70,000 a year to maintain on top of the $320,000 price tag to establish it.

The media is already using the site to question officials’ spending, as an article featured in the New York Daily News noted city administrators have shelled out nearly $100,000 on car service this year and staffers spent $11,000 on chauffeured rides.

The New York Times has also honed in on about $6,000 spent at K&D liquors this year, about $2,000 each for three purchases. The newspaper said the alcohol was purchased by the office for various events held at the Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s official residence;  most of the liquor bills were reimbursed by a non-profit organization that uses private money to support public programs.

Susan Lerner, executive of the nonpartisan government watchdog group Common Cause, applauded the new database.

“Once it becomes a matter of course,” she told the New York Times, “it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.”

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