In the 2008 regular session, the Washington State Legislature passed Senate Bill 6818 and the Governor signed it into law (RCW 44.48.150)
. The bill indicated the legislative intent that state revenue and expenditure data be made as open, transparent, and publicly accessible as is feasible with the goal of making government more accountable.
The bill required that the office of the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program (LEAP) Committee
collaborate with the Office of Financial Management (OFM)
to create a website that will provide access to expenditures, revenues, workloads, caseloads, performance measures, and performance audits. It also required providing access to current budget data and access to current accounting data, as well as to historical data.
The staff members who work on the website seek to leverage the strengths and capacities of both OFM and LEAP to make this information more approachable. OFM executes ongoing responsibilities regarding collecting, organizing, validating, and verifying statewide fiscal data and routinely transmits those data to LEAP. Among other responsibilities, LEAP provides reporting systems to the Legislature and to other audiences as well. The Fiscal Information website utilizes new technologies to provide flexible access to this information.
In some cases, the access to information will be provided through a web interface (Microsoft SQL Reporting Services) that permits website visitors to choose various parameters and run reports displaying the information that correspond to those parameters. In other cases, links are provided to standard reports—particularly in the areas of workloads, caseloads, performance measures, and performance audits.
The website will display data that are routinely updated: for budgets as budget proposals are made public; for revenues, expenditures, and staffing, on a monthly basis as monthly actual data are finalized; for historical data, as those data are updated to reflect changes in budget formats; and for workloads, caseloads, performance measures, and performance audits, as websites that display those data are updated.
In these ways, the Fiscal Information website improves public access to state fiscal data and promotes government transparency through greater government accountability.