Taxpayer Transparency Act
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the [COUNTY] as follows:
[Chapter] of the Code of [COUNTY] is hereby added as provided hereinafter:
- 1 Title.
- 2 Legislative intent.
- 3 Definitions.
- 4 Searchable budget database website created.
- 5 Updates.
- 6 Compliance with Act.
- 7 Electronic public access to meetings and information
- 7 Severability.
- 8 Repealer.
This chapter of the Code of [COUNTY] shall be entitled and known as the “Taxpayer Transparency Act.”
2 Legislative intent.
The Legislature finds that taxpayers should have easy access to the legislative process, as well as the details on how the county is spending their tax dollars and what performance results are achieved for those expenditures. It is the intent of the Legislature, therefore, to direct the Department of Finance to create and maintain a searchable budget database website detailing where, for what purpose, and what results are achieved for all taxpayer investments in county government. It is the further intent of the Legislature to make all legislative meetings available to the public by live stream.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated: SEARCHABLE BUDGET DATABASE WEBSITE
A website that allows the public at no cost to:
(A) Search and aggregate information for the following:
(1) the name and principal location or residence of the entity/and or recipients of funds,
(2) the amount of funds expended,
(3) the funding or expending agency,
(4) the funding source of the revenue expended,
(5) the budget program/activity of the expenditure,
(6) a descriptive purpose for the funding action or expenditure,
(7) the expected performance outcome for the funding action or expenditure,
(8) the past performance outcomes achieved for the funding action or expenditure,
(9) any audit or report relating to the entity or recipient of funds or the budget program/activity or agency,
(10) and any other relevant information specified by the Department of Finance.
(B) Programmatically search and access all data in a serialized machine-readable format (such as XML) via a web-services application programming interface.
ENTITY/AND OR RECIPIENTS
(A) a corporation,
(B) an association,
(C) a union
(D) a limited liability company,
(E) a limited liability partnership,
(F) any other legal business entity including non-profits,
(H) contractors, and
(I) a county, city, or other local government entity.
(J) “Entity/and or recipients” does not include an individual recipient of public assistance.
A county department, division, office, bureau, board, commission, committee, or unit.
This includes individual county agencies and programs, as well as those programs and activities that cross agency lines. “County agency” includes all elective offices in the Executive Branch of government and the Legislature.
AUDIT OR REPORT
Shall include any audit or report issued by the state, county auditor, legislative auditor, legislative committee, or executive body relating to the entity or recipient of funds or the budget program/activity or agency.
The [COUNTY] Commissioner of Finance.
The account from which the expenditure is appropriated.
FUNDING ACTION OR EXPENDITURE
Shall include details on the type of spending (grant, contract, appropriations, etc.). This includes tax exemptions or credits. Where possible, a hyperlink to the actual expenditure document (in a format that is, at a minimum, as searchable as a searchable PDF format) shall be provided.
The [COUNTY] Legislature.
4 Searchable budget database website created.
By [DATE], the Commissioner shall develop and make publicly available a single, searchable budget database website including the required data for the [most recent county budget]. The website shall be given a unique and simplified website address. Each county agency that maintains a generally accessible Internet site or for which a generally accessible Internet site is maintained shall include a link on the front page of the agency’s Internet site to the budget database website.
The Commissioner shall provide guidance to agency heads to ensure compliance with this section. The searchable budget database website shall be updated as new data becomes available, if feasible, but no later than 30 days upon receipt of data from the agency.
The Commissioner shall ensure that all data added to the searchable budget database website remains accessible to the public for a minimum of six years.
6 Compliance with Act.
The Commissioner shall not be considered in compliance with this act if the data required for the searchable budget database website is not available in a searchable and aggregate manner and/or the public is redirected to other government websites, unless each of those sites has information from all agencies and each category of information required can be searched electronically by field in a single search.
7 Electronic public access to meetings and information.
(A) The [COUNTY] Legislature shall make all public meetings of the Legislature or its subcommittees available for public viewing in real time by live video stream. A link to the live stream shall be conspicuously posted and made available on the Legislature’s website at least twenty-four hours prior to the meeting.
(B) The Legislature shall ensure that members can be heard, seen, and identified at all times when the meeting is being conducted, including but not limited to any motions, proposals, resolutions, and any other matter formally discussed or voted upon.
(C) Each meeting that is live streamed shall be recorded and such recordings linked or posted on the Legislature’s website within five business days following the meeting and shall remain so available for a minimum of five years thereafter.
This Local Law shall take effect on [DATE].