Yankee Institute posts every penny spent by Connecticut state governmet 

Residents of Connecticut now have a web site to go to if they want to know exactly how their state government is spending every penny of tax dollars, thanks to the Yankee Institute for Public Policy.

Dubbed CTSunlight.org, the purpose of the site is to enable Connecticut residents to "look at every line item of state government spending and discover how our tax dollars are being spent by the people in Hartford. The goal of the CT Sunlight Project is to empower regular people to hold state government accountable for their spending. Bloggers, journalists, students, academics, and average citizens can use this website to see how the state spends our tax dollars, identify corruption, and suggest ways to effectively reduce spending in Hartford."

Yankee Institute officials say they obtained the data for the site through a massive Freedom of Information Act request for data covering calendar 2007 and 2008.

"We believe transparency and disclosure of how government spends tax dollars puts downward pressure on spending, which in turn keeps taxes low," said Fergus Cullen, the Yankee Institute's Executive Director. "We call our website 'CTSunlight.org' because we believe sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Already, some interesting examples of state spending from 2008 have been turned up as a result of the site, including:

* The state spent $3,193 on hotels in Nevada

* The Department of Education spent $258,478 on referees and umpires

* The state spent $2,582 at various Dunkin Donuts locations

* The attorney general's office spent $5,100,205 on attorney's fees to private law firms

* The Department of Corrections spent $2.8 million for milk from the Guida Dairy

* The governor's Office spent $3,189 on bottled water from Crystal Rock

* The Department of Veteran's Affairs subscribes to the Book of the Month Club for $607

About a dozen state governments now post some or all of their spending on public web sites, but CTSunlight.org" is an entirely private, citizen-based operation.

-Mark Tapscott

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