Idaho adopts financial transparency, puts records online


Idaho has launched a new government transparency website which includes downloadable financial reports from public offices over the last several years. The reports range from broad summaries of State revenues and expenditures with easy-to-read charts and graphs, to detailed snapshots of agency-level finances. Raw data can even be downloaded for those who wish to conduct their own analysis of Idaho’s latest financial data.

The website is the result of work between Governor “Butch” Otter and State Controller Brandon D. Woolf. Both officials also worked with the state legislature, and Governor’s Division of Financial Management to get the reports online. In a welcome move, the data on the website will be updated nightly.

Transparent Idaho is one of the few state transparency websites offering financial data at all, much less regular updates – the presence of top-down support seems to be making this a real effort, rather than openness in name only.

Governor Otter anticipates the State Controller’s Office will make even more financial data available online in the future. “Our goal is to put Idaho’s checkbook online, but that will take some time and resources,” Controller Woolf said.

The website was creating using existing resources, and did not require any special budget appropriation. “For our republic to function it is critical for Idaho citizens to have unfettered access to their government’s financial records,” Governor Otter said.