The Edmond Sun

February 27, 2013

Miller launches ‘Oklahoma Treasury Online Checkbook’


Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — Oklahoma taxpayers now have a quick and easy way to examine state government’s spending with the “Oklahoma Treasury Online Checkbook” launched Wednesday by State Treasurer Ken Miller.

“Banks give their customers online access to their accounts; it only makes sense for the state’s chief financial officer to provide the same access to Oklahoma taxpayers,” Miller told reporters during a State Capitol news conference on Wednesday.

The state’s checkbook register can be found by clicking on the online checkbook graphic on Treasurer Miller’s homepage at www.treasurer.ok.gov.

Information can be found on expenditures and collections by function of government or by agency. Payments to businesses and state employees are included and can be viewed collectively or searched by individual. Deposits include total receipts by day and by agency, but do not disclose the names of taxpayers.

“This user-friendly tool, which many will find is as easy to use as their own checkbook, is a great complement to Open Books,” Miller said.

To demonstrate the ease of using the site, Miller showed reporters how to search for information by looking up payments by the state treasurer’s office. In about a minute, Miller was able to pull a report of all payments made in December by the agency he heads.

The online checkbook contains almost six million expenditures made since July 2007 and some 200,000 entries of revenue collections since April 2010.

This new functionality was made possible in part by the provisions of House Bill 1086, which required electronic payment of vendor invoices, eliminating the need to print thousands of traditional checks.

The House author of HB 1086, state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, praised the new service.

“This transparency initiative will allow Oklahoma taxpayers to hold state government accountable for years into the future,” Murphey said. “I am especially impressed with the site’s user friendly interface, which allows visitors to quickly access the spend data from their favorite government bureaucracy.”

The Senate author of HB 1086, Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, said, “Oklahoma is fortunate to have a partner in government transparency in Treasurer Miller. More openness in state government, such as this site provides, can only lead to better spending decisions.”

When Miller served as the House Appropriations and Budget Committee chairman, he authored legislation enhancing the state’s Open Books website.

“The launch of this online checkbook is a natural progression of the partnership Sen. Jolley, Rep. Murphey, myself and many others began years ago and it is a step forward in providing increased government accountability,” Miller said.

Miller said additional financial data will be added in the coming months.

“We will bring more information online as state financial systems are further unified,” Miller said.

Once work is complete on upgrades of the state’s cash management and electronic payment and deposit software programs, information on public assistance, pension, unemployment and Medicaid payments will be added to the online checkbook. However, recipient information will be blocked to protect the privacy of the individuals receiving the payments. Work is also under way to incorporate the receipt of federal funds into the automated reporting system.

The Oklahoma Treasury Online Checkbook was developed for the treasurer’s office under an interagency agreement with the Information Services Division of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services.