State’s checkbook may soon go online

The House voted unanimously today to put a searchable database of the state’s checkbook online for public review.

The site will mirror a new website launched by a conservative think tank earlier this year.

Proponents say it is necessary for the legislature’s non-partisan budget office to launch its own site because of inaccuracies on the Yankee Institute for Public Policy’s site.

Rep. Demetrios S. Giannaros, D-Farmington, who drafted the bill, said the site overstates his wife’s salary as a part-time teacher at Tunxis Community College by $130,000. Similarly, the legislative salary of Rep. John E. Stripp, R-Weston, is over-reported by about $12,000.

The Yankee Institute has said any inaccuracies are due to errors the information they received from the state’s chief financial officer, Nancy S. Wyman.

The Yankee Institute’s is generating a flood of traffic.  The site averages about 5,000 page views a day and 63,000 unique users have visited the site since it launched, said Heath Fahle, policy director of the Yankee Institute.

The bill now heads to the Senate, and is expected to face little opposition. If it becomes law, the site will go live in July 2011.

Several other states have decided to open their records – including in Utah and Nebraska. In other states, non-profits have taken on the task – including New York and Maine. The federal government lists its expenditures at