Oklahoma Opens Its Finances to Increase Transparency

OpenGov-designed Oklahoma Checkbook provides users with an accounting of state expenditures and fulfills one of the governor's campaign promises to strengthen transparency and accountability.

by / June 13, 2019
Shutterstock/Paul Brady Photography

Oklahoma residents can now see if their state is balancing its checkbook using a newly launched online transparency tool.

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Oklahoma Checkbook on Wednesday, an OpenGov-designed portal that provides near real-time data on the state’s expenses. The platform is the result of a partnership between the Stitt administration, the Office of the State Treasurer and the new Office of Digital Transformation and Administration, according to a press release.

Stitt said in a prepared statement that the website marks the fulfillment of a campaign promise he made to Oklahomans.

“Since day one I have said we need to put our state government checkbook online so the people of Oklahoma can hold their agencies and elected officials accountable,” Stitt said in the release. “Oklahoma Checkbook creates a level of accountability and transparency within Oklahoma’s government that is unprecedented. I look forward to seeing how this user-friendly tool helps keep us on track to becoming a top-ten state in budget transparency.”

Oklahoma Checkbook is the first project funded by the $15 million allocated in the Fiscal Year 2019-20 budget for digital transformation, said David Ostrowe, the secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration.

“Everything we’re doing has to have a return and everything has to be transformational,” Ostrowe told Government Technology.

Ostrowe said in the governor’s press release that Oklahoma Checkbook will illuminate potential accounting errors within the state government, which could save the state money in the long term.

“The interactive website will provide Oklahomans with much-needed transparency and help the agency heads and elected officials, charged with keeping our financial house in order, make more efficient and effective decisions,” he said.

According to the release, the platform showcases state agency spending with graphs and charts, which allows residents to easily grasp how their tax dollars are spent.

State Treasurer Randy McDaniel said in the release that taxpayer funds should be transparent and readily available for review by residents.

“I’m honored to work with Gov. Stitt and his leadership team to improve openness and accountability in state government,” McDaniel said in the prepared statement.

OpenGov Vice President of Sales Tim Melton said his team was able to turnout a product for Oklahoma in a relatively short amount of time.

“We are very cognizant of time to value and in Oklahoma this project is right around two and half months from time we started to time we’re going to deploy,” Melton told Government Technology. “It does depend because each state is different.”

Patrick Groves Staff Writer

Patrick Groves is a staff writer for Government Technology. Previously, he worked for five years at newspapers in Washington state, Idaho, Florida and Northern California. He has a Bachelor’s degree in communication from Washington State University and lives in Northern California.