Governor Steve Bullock has unveiled a new website which puts state government expenditures online. It’s strikingly similar to a website called for in HB444, a bill passed by the 2011 Legislature and then vetoed by Governor Brian Schweitzer. The bill created a “Montana public finance website…from which the general public can search, retrieve and download information about the state finances.”
Governor Bullock says he was not mimicking the bill with his transparency.mt.gov, adding he hadn’t even seen HB444. Chuck Johnson of Lee Newspapers reports “The state Department of Administration began a project six months ago looking at ways to present this information in different ways, under the Schweitzer administration.”
Republicans have been pushing for a similar website for some time, but Bullock says his site was not necessarily an olive branch to the GOP, saying it’s moreso a trend happening in states across the country.
“It’s for people to be able to engage, get a better sense (of spending,)” Bullock said.
Bullock says the site is pretty basic right now and the Department of Administration will be working to improve it.