Pelican Institute provides new source for transparency and accountability in government spending
NEW ORLEANS, La. – As fiscal pressure dominates political debates across the nation, Louisianians can now see all state employee salaries at the click of a button.
Today the Pelican Institute unveiled “Louisiana Sunshine,” an interactive website of state spending data. In addition to employee salaries, it includes detailed information about vendor payments and state contracts. It even accounts for overtime payments by agency and individual.
The goal for the site is to provide state spending data “in a format that allows you to select and sort the information and find what interests you.” Users can break down spending across different agencies, organizations, and parishes – and they can build their own Excel spreadsheets.
Kevin Kane, the Institute’s president, says the “Institute is committed to making public information more accessible. Taxpayers have a right to see how their money is being spent, and through the internet we can make this data available in a more user-friendly format.”
“Regardless of your position on the size and cost of government, having detailed spending information at our fingertips enables us to have a more informed discussion about important policy issues.”
The supply of data, going back to 2008, is seemingly endless, with dozens of state departments and countless agencies. As just one example, users can see that two of Louisiana’s university leaders each earn over half a million dollars, more than four times Governor Bobby Jindal’s salary of $130,000.