FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Lise Bang-Jensen
Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli are being honored with the 2008 SeeThroughNY Award for Promoting Transparency in Government, the Empire Center for Public Policy announced today.
The award recognizes their innovative web sites that make public information more accessible to New Yorkers. Each is receiving a plaque topped by a transparent piggy bank, the logo of SeeThroughNY.net, the Empire Center’s transparency web site.
In January, Cuomo unveiled Project Sunlight, New York State government’s first transparency web site. Project Sunlight offers easily accessible information about elected officials, campaign finance, lobbyists, legislative member items and registered corporations and charities.
In June, DiNapoli released Open Book New York, which contains spending information for 3,100 local governments and more than 100 state agencies. The site also offers an inventory of more than 60,000 active state contacts. All the available data can be loaded into a PDF file or an Excel spreadsheet.
“With Project Sunlight and Open Book New York, Attorney General Cuomo and Comptroller DiNapoli have taken noteworthy steps toward making public information more accessible. Their sites wet the public’s appetite for further government transparency, which they promise in future phases of the sites,” said Lise Bang-Jensen, senior policy analyst for the Empire Center.
“We created Project Sunlight to lift the veil on Albany and to empower the people of New York State,” Cuomo said. “Access to government is a right of all citizens. Project Sunlight provides the public with tools to question, analyze, and improve the way their government works. Enhancing transparency in New York State remains a top priority of my office.”
“For too long, Albany did business behind closed doors. It wasn’t easy for the public to find out how their tax dollars were spent,” DiNapoli said. “Open Book New York gives the public a road map of how government spends the public’s money and provides a level playing field for those interested in doing business with the state.”
SeeThroughNY.net offers searchable databases for employee payrolls of the state and larger public authorities; legislative office expenses and pork barrel projects; and teacher union and superintendent contracts for all 733 local school districts and BOCES districts.