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Michigan AG to List All Dept. Expenditures Online

"My legislation will implement 'Google' government. This level of transparency is essential in allowing taxpayers to easily track how their tax dollars are being spent."

by / February 5, 2008
Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced today that his office is the first in state government to create a page on the department's Web site detailing the expenditures of the AG's office, including contracts, salaries and wages, equipment and other spending.

Ralph Nader, joining the press conference by phone, said "I applaud AG Cox for taking this important first step of making government operations more transparent. I hope the governor follows his example and makes the full text of all Michigan state contracts available to the public via the Internet."

According to Cox, "Our office is a leader in defending Freedom of Information requests and Open Meetings Acts. Letting the sunshine in on state government expenditures is the next step in open government. The public has a right to see how their tax dollars are being spent. Our 'Track Your Taxes' Web page will let all Michigan citizens see how the Attorney General's office puts their money to work."

"Consumer advocate Ralph Nader's call to publicize state government expenditures is the ultimate in consumer protection," Cox added. "I urge the Governor to move swiftly with an Executive Order to make this happen immediately."

State Representative Jack Hoogendyk, who has introduced legislation titled the Management and Budget Act -- mandating the creation of a Web site that provides information on state expenditures -- said "My legislation will implement 'Google' government. This level of transparency is essential in allowing taxpayers to easily track how their tax dollars are being spent. I applaud Attorney General Mike Cox for bringing transparency to his department."

The new webpage will list all of the department's contracts, including legal services such as Special Assistant Attorneys General and expert witnesses.

"Government works best when it is open and accountable," Cox said. "Citizens and taxpayers will have more confidence in state government if they can go to a Web site and see exactly where their money is going."

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