News From Kevin Lembo

COMPTROLLER LEMBO ANNOUNCES CHECKBOOK-LEVEL FINANCIAL DATA NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE FOR QUASI-PUBLIC AGENCIES
Tuesday, July 12, 2016 | Contact: Tara Downes (860.702.3308) | Tara.Downes@ct.gov

Comptroller Kevin Lembo announced today that checkbook-level data on vendor payments made by Connecticut quasi-public agencies is now available online at OpenConnecticut, the state's comprehensive financial transparency website.

Earlier this year, Lembo called on the state's quasi-public agencies to voluntarily provide his office with this data in order for Connecticut to maintain its leadership among other states on open government, transparency and accountability.

So far, six out of 13 have already provided the data (now available at http://www.osc.ct.gov/openCT/quasi.html)  and two more have fully committed to, and are working on, providing the data. Two of the quasi-public agencies have provided a list of vendors who have been paid (minus specific dollar amounts paid to those vendors).

"The response by the majority of Connecticut’s quasi-public agencies has been overwhelmingly positive and cooperative - demonstrating a broad recognition and appreciation for the value of open government," Lembo said. "I look forward to continuing our partnership with these quasi-public agencies, and further expanding the available data and utility of OpenConnecticut."

Lembo launched OpenConnecticut approximately three years ago as a central hub for all of the state’s financial data and reports that had historically been scattered across agencies and websites. Since launching the site, Connecticut has improved its grade in financial transparency from a B- to an A+ this year in U.S. PIRG's annual "Follow the Money" financial transparency survey. This year's report declared Connecticut one of the top five
leading states with the most comprehensive transparency websites.

Quasi-public agencies are independent government corporations created through legislation to perform particular public functions. Lembo said quasi-public data is an important component to the state’s transparency efforts.

"The services that quasi-public agencies provide are essential public services that directly impact the lives of residents and businesses in the state," Lembo said. "Quasi-public agencies are responsible for running the state’s health care exchange, operating our state-owned airports, incentivizing clean energy solutions, promoting economic development, maintaining waste disposal, providing financing for low-income housing and health and education institutions and distributing loans.

"All quasi-public agencies were formed to meet a public purpose with significant ramifications on the general public, and many rely in some way on state funds or resources to accomplish their stated purpose. The operations of quasi-public institutions should therefore be as transparent as possible."

As a next step, Lembo said his office is currently working to expand OpenConnecticut to include real-time state payroll data. That feature is expected to be available late this summer.

"The only way to ensure an honest discussion about our financial future is to open government and deliver the truth to the public," Lembo said. “We are doing everything we can to deliver state financial information in bigger and better ways each year. With a few keystrokes, all of us should be able to find out where state money is going and where it came from."
 

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