The internet empowers voters to understand where their tax dollars are being spent
First, the internet made information available to the masses at an unprecedented level. Then the bubble burst and city revenue declined. Many U.S. city and county budgets were suddenly upside down and the first city bankruptcies in US history occurred. Taxpayers were motivated and empowered by the internet to demand answers and seek a better understanding of how their money was being spent. Then the White House launched the Transparent Government Initiative to improve accountability. But how can you live up to the call for true transparency?
How can you be transparent when the average US City budget is over 100 pages long?
City budgets are created by accountants and finance staff whose job is to be immersed in your revenue and spending. The problem is that your citizens are not accountants. Budget formats are hard to read and their length creates a huge barrier for taxpayers. A 100 page budget with 2,900 characters per page amounts to 290,000 characters and about 46,000 words. If they can read 200 words per minute, it would take about 4 hours for them to just read the budget.
Posting a PDF of your budget does NOT create transparency
That’s right. Few citizens will take 4 hours or more to read your budget. Worse, even if they did, they still wouldn’t have a clear picture of your city’s health, revenue and spending. So what about using an elaborate “business intelligence” program to help taxpayers understand the budget? Most of these are immersed in pull downs, what ifs and their overwhelming software features. They are so complicated to use that the average citizen can’t easily understand them and can get lost in minutes.
Be transparent in just a few weeks with EZTransparency.com
EZTransparency sets the bar in simplicity with one click graphs, drill downs that are intuitive and always let taxpayers remember where they are in the budget. Better yet, NO WORK IS REQUIRED OF YOUR STAFF. We create your transparent budget directly from your PDF. Our checks and balances quickly identify budget errors or omissions. We include metrics beyond your budget that are critical to understanding the health of your municipality like budget per capita, debt per capita, average city wages and more.