"You shouldn't have to be an investigative reporter to find out how the state spends tax dollars." -- Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (pictured)

Taxpayers will be able to see where every dime of state money goes under an executive order Governor Bob Riley signed yesterday.

The directive orders the creation of a publicly accessible Web site that details all spending, grants and contracts done by state government. The public information will include the amount of funds being spent, the date of the expenditure, the agency spending the money and the funding source.

"Taxpayers will know where their money goes and to whom it goes," said Riley.

Riley signed the executive order during the annual meeting of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama (PARCA), where he delivered remarks on the need for ethics reform and more accountability in state government.

"You shouldn't have to be an investigative reporter to find out how the state spends tax dollars. So with this executive order, we're going to put the state's checkbook online," Riley said. "This reform empowers taxpayers to become fiscal watchdogs. With this Web site detailing the expenditures of all state funds, Alabama will take a giant leap forward in government transparency."

The directive orders the Finance Department to develop and operate a Web site providing information "of all appropriated or non-appropriated funds by a state agency in forms including, but not limited to, grants, contracts and subcontracts."

The executive order states the Web site must be online no later than March 1 of this year with information on spending from fiscal year 2008 and with monthly reports of expenditures incurred in the 2009 fiscal year. Software that makes the database searchable must be in place by September 1.

Riley has continually advocated for greater transparency in government. With the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent) Governing reform he instituted, all state agencies must set goals and detail their plans for spending taxpayer dollars.