From The Plain Dealer Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has spent the last year touting his effort to put all state expenditures online at OhioCheckbook.com. But a competing website from Gov. John Kasich's budget office is in the works.
In addition to showing state agency expenditures, the new site from the Office of Budget and Management will show where the money came from, such as sales tax or federal grants. Its release could reopen the debate over who should publicly post the data.
Budget Director Tim Keen said Mandel's checkbook doesn't give enough context to state spending and shouldn't be part of the treasurer's duties.
"State budgets are not just about spending," Keen said in an interview.
How is the budget website different from OhioCheckbook.com?
The budget office has been working on this for about two years -- before Mandel unveiled his checkbook. The interactive budget is in its final stages of testing and is expected to launch in April.
Like OhioCheckbook.com, the interactive budget will allow people to search by agency or vendor to find out how taxpayer dollars were spent.
Both sites use data from the Ohio Administrative Knowledge System to show checkbook-level spending and can display information by agency, department or line item over several years.
But the interactive budget also shows state revenue, how money was initially appropriated, and how those appropriations changed through later legislation or executive action.
That means visitors will be able to see how much money an agency was allowed to spend, how much they have spent and how much remains.
Keen said the interactive budget provides more valuable context than "some other displays."