Connecticut following every dollar

Connecticut has developed a World Wide Web site to give taxpayers and policy makers unprecedented information on how the state spends the money it borrows through bonds.

The new site (www.osc.state.ct.us) provides a searchable database of every bond dollar the state has spent in the last five years. It will be updated each month.

Connecticut began developing the site for internal use but realized interest in the data extended beyond city hall, state comptroller Nancy Wyman said. With $9.4 billion in bonded debt, or $2,800 per resident, "I think the taxpayers deserve to know what is going on," Wyman said.

Likewise, state legislators will be able to use the information as they develop new programs and draft new policies, she said.

People can search the database by a number of variables, including when the money was spent, how it was spent, where it was spent (which municipality) and who received it. Until now, anyone looking for such information had to dig through five years of bond commission agendas and minutes.

Generally, state officials believe Connecticut citizens will be pleased with what they see. "Most of the projects are really good projects, and they need to understand it," Wyman said.

Of course, the state may be opening itself up to criticism as well, but, "I am more concerned that they don't have the information," Wyman said. "If they don't like it, they can be vocal and tell their policy makers."

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