Find state budget info with this Maryland web app - Technical.ly Baltimore

Civic

Aug. 5, 2019 1:39 pm

Find state budget info with this Maryland web app

The Maryland Transparency Portal offers a place to search finance data about how state taxpayer money is being spent.
The Annapolis waterfront.

The Annapolis waterfront.

(Historic downtown Annapolis by Steven Frame via Shutterstock)

The State of Maryland has a new digital tool to dig into how taxpayer money is being spent in the state budget.

The Maryland Transparency Portal launched this month with four years of budget information available on the programs that the state government oversees.

“One of our greatest challenges has been to find a way to convey information about the state budget that makes it easy for our citizens to understand where tax revenue is coming from, where it’s going, and why,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement. “Finally, with the Maryland Transparency Portal, we’re able to give the public the tools necessary to cut through the partisan rhetoric and media spin to see for themselves how much of their money is being spent on the government programs and projects that are important to them.”

The state’s Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) teamed up for the web-based application, using civic data platform Socrata.

The tool allows users to view details from the state’s operating budget on expenditures, funds and specific positions. It also has info available on vendor payments that streamlines info currently available on DBM’s website and puts it into context, per the state. Data on grants and loans is also available.

Initially, info is available on the following: the FY 2020 legislative appropriation, the FY 2019 working appropriation and actual budget data for both FY 2018 and FY 2017.

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Along with putting the data on one platform, the agencies will also be able to update budget info more quickly with the new platform and connect it with tools like Maryland’s open data portal. It will be updated with any revisions to the budget following General Assembly sessions and once the state issues a fiscal closeout report each year, the state says.

“The connected nature of the Maryland Transparency Portal will not only allow people to view details of the state budget in all of its phases faster than they’ve ever been able to do so before, but it will also link that information to data from the other sources that people are already familiar with-making for a seamless transition between that and the new portal,” said DoIT Secretary Michael Leahy.

It’s the latest civic data-focused rollout from DoIT, which debuted a redesigned open data portal and corresponding Twitter handle earlier this year.

When it comes to web-based budget tools, Baltimore County also launched an application that provides data.

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