Ashtabula Star Beacon: Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel Wants the State's Checkbook Online
By Shelley Terry | Ashtabula Star Beacon
ASHTABULA — Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel is leading the charge
to put the state’s checkbook online.
Mandel will need support from taxpayers to see this happen,
he said during a stop at the Star Beacon Monday afternoon.
“People of Ohio have the right to know where tax dollars are
spent,” he said. “Sunlight is a disinfectant to waste.”
In May, Mandel made the news with a proposal that would
empower him to create an online database that shows how the state spends every
penny, allowing the public to hold public officials accountable.
The bill (House Bill 175), called “Open Ohio,” was
introduced by Mandel’s fellow Republican, Rep. Mike Dovilla of Berea, and
backed by a handful of legislators from both parties, including Rep. John
Ohioans could track every cent the state government spends,
from travel expenses to office supplies, using an easily searchable format.
Ultimately, Mandel would like to expand the checkbook to
allow people to search the spending of their school boards, city council and
township trustees. Ohioans could see which vendors get the most money and how
spending compares from one group to another, encouraging thrifty and honest
Mandel’s office already maintains searchable salary
databases online for public-school teachers and state employees.
House Bill 175 made it through the Ohio House's state and
local government committee before summer recess. Come fall, it’s in the
Senate’s hands and Mandel said he plans to push the legislation.
He encourages Ohioans to write and/or email their Senators
and ask them to support it.
“I think the people have a right to know how their
hard-earned money is being spent,” Mandel said.
The proposal has garnered the support of the Columbus-based
Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, the Ohio Public Interest
Research Group and the Ohio Newspaper Association.
The bill is getting some opposition because if a public
checkbook becomes law, all future state treasurers would have to maintain it.
The cost of creating the online checkbook is unknown, but
the legislation doesn't give Mandel any more money to build it. He plans to
absorb the costs into his budget, he said.
For more information, call 1-800-228-1102 or email Mandel at