Taxpayers have an interest in holding their cities accountable, to make sure their public officials are being good stewards of their tax dollars. The Show-Me Institute’s Municipal Checkbook Project was started to show taxpayers how their cities spend money—and who their cities do business with—so they can decide for themselves if their public officials are being fiscally responsible. To see all the checkbooks we’ve received, click here.
The Institute has sent Sunshine requests throughout Missouri asking for:
- A record of all expenses by a city
- The memo/description for each expense
- The vendor who was paid
- The amount the vendor was paid
- The date the vendor was paid
- Any address information associated with the vendor
We requested this information covering each of the last five years, and we are working through these documents to make their contents digestible to our readers. Missouri contains around 1000 municipalities, so as you might expect, this project is extensive and ongoing. Some cities are already in the interactive widget above, but the relevant documents from all of the cities who have supplied materials in accordance with our requests are available for download here. We hope that someday, as a matter of routine, all cities and the state itself will release this information in a similar format. If a government can spend your money, you should be able to see how.
The Municipal Checkbook is part of a larger transparency initiative being undertaken at the Show-Me Institute. We have also published an interactive map of state-level spending in Fiscal Year 2017, and for those who want to dig deeper, checkbook data for counties, school districts, and even special taxing/development districts is available here.