The Empire Center today marked the first anniversary of its government transparency web site, www.SeeThroughNY.net, with the posting of $148.3 million in legislative pork barrel member items for 2009-10. The online database, which also includes $148.1 million in member items for 2008-09, is searchable by legislator, locality and recipient.
Since its debut on July 31, 2008, the SeeThroughNY site has been visited more than 1.3 million times, generating 5 million data requests, or “page loads.”
“The traffic count for SeeThroughNY shows New Yorkers are hungry for information on how state and local government spends their tax dollars,” said E.J. McMahon, director of the Empire Center. “In the months ahead, we will continue to expand and update SeeThroughNY’s databases and user tools.”
Under the “Expenditure” tab of the SeeThroughNY website, users can search all available information for 8,250 member-items approved by the Assembly and Senate this year, alone or in combination with last year’s 10,036 items. Users can search the member-item database in a variety of ways, singling out the year of grants; whether the grants originated in the Assembly or Senate; the name of legislative sponsors or co-sponsors; the name of the recipient organization; and the city or town in which the recipient is located. Search results can be downloaded as a spreadsheet or comma-delimited text file for further analysis.
SeeThroughNY also offers searchable databases of complete employee payrolls for the state government, New York City, public school districts and 19 public authorities; teacher union and superintendent contracts with 733 school districts; operations spending by the state Senate and Assembly; and a benchmarking tool to compare local government spending on a per-capita basis. As with member-items, all search results can be downloaded as spreadsheets or comma-delimited files for further analysis.
The Albany-based Empire Center is a non-partisan, independent think tank.