Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt today praised the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) for using his Missouri Accountability Portal to find questionable spending in Missouri state government. NTU, which has 7,300 members in Missouri, logged on and questioned expenses over the last eight years for bakeries, beauty salons, bra stores, coffee shops and picture-framing galleries. Gov. Blunt has directed the Office of Administration to examine the expenses identified by NTU and to report their findings.

"This is exactly what we expected and envisioned when we created the MAP site," Blunt said. "Transparency and openness help root out wasteful spending and we welcome this scrutiny. I thank the National Taxpayers Union for bringing attention to these spending items and I have directed the Office of Administration to examine these expenses and report to me what they find. This is an example of how we are making Missouri state government more open, transparent and accountable to taxpayers by providing the greatest access to information in our state's history."

The governor's office recently heard from several MAP visitors who became fiscal watchdogs questioning the state's expenses to Ann's Bra Shop in Vandalia. After the governor directed a review of the expenses, the Office of Administration found they were legitimate Department of Corrections expenses for special-needs products for female inmates in Missouri's prison system.

The MAP site is one of the first comprehensive databases of financial records based on real-time data in the nation. The MAP site is updated at the close of each business day to provide up-to-date access to information about state spending. Anyone can search the MAP site by budget category, vendor or contract. Links to other public information maintained by the state are also available on the MAP site. The MAP expenditure site has also been enhanced to allow Missourians to review state expenditures by state agency and information regarding tax credits administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development since tax credit application year 2000. The site also provides easy to access, real-time information on state employee salaries.

Americans for Tax Reform, a leading taxpayer watchdog group lauded Gov. Blunt for creating the Internet site. "Gov. Blunt is one of the first governors to enable taxpayers to become fiscal watchdogs, and I commend him for taking this step towards greater fiscal transparency," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.