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Governor’s Address Feb. 02/09 Open Government

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Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

It was an honor to speak with Maine families during my State of the State address and reflect honestly on the progress made during the past two years and the challenges we face as a State.

I believe you and your family can prosper as long as government is efficient and effective.

You deserve a government you can trust and afford. Government should be transparent to the public. You deserve to know how government spends taxpayer dollars.

During my campaign for Governor, I promised that I would help create an online tool to show how the state spends your money. I’m pleased to announce that the website is now available. Open Checkbook gives Mainers information about how their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are used by government by taking budget data out of government filing cabinets and making it available to you for the first time in an easy-to-access way.

The website is opencheckbook.maine.gov. It enables you to search details of state spending, including vendor payments and employee compensation. We plan to expand the site even more in the coming months to include revenue data and other details related to budget expenses.

Future enhancements will include expanded graphs and budget reports.  Details on vendor payments will be uploaded to the website every month and employee compensation, including salary and benefits, will be updated on an annual basis.

This site was funded by saving money in other programs. No additional taxpayer dollars were used to create this new service. I would also like to take a moment to praise Maine Public Radio Network for their commitment to a transparent and open government.

This week, it launched Maine Capitol Connection, a free, over-the-air television channel dedicated to live, day-to-day coverage of the Maine State Legislature.

Viewers will have access to daily work session ns of the Maine State Senate and the Maine House of Representatives. Important committee hearings, special events, and selected press conferences will be broadcast each session.

I’ve had the opportunity over the past two years to work with Mal Leary, who is now leading a team of staff as the Managing Editor and Director of the station. I congratulate Mal for his work to get this project up and running.

Mainers deserve a government that is open. Both Open Checkbook and Maine Capitol Connection provide you with the knowledge and power to engage and participate in the democratic process. I encourage you to continue to be an active and informed citizen. Your participation will help make Maine a better place.

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