Governor Tom Corbett ushered in a new era of transparency and accountability in state government today with the launch of Pennsylvania’s transparency website, known as PennWATCH at http://www.pennwatch.pa.gov.
Corbett was joined today by the primary sponsors of the PennWATCH act, Rep. Jim Christiana, R-Beaver, and Sen. Pat Browne, R-Lehigh Valley.
“Pennsylvanians deserve to know how their tax dollars are being allocated and spent,” Corbett said. “PennWATCH gives citizens unprecedented access to information on the state budget, revenues, spending and workforce.
“PennWATCH presents information to citizens in a way that is both easy to use and easy to understand. This website represents a historic leap forward in openness and transparency in Pennsylvania state government.”
“The Office of Open Records applauds the launch of PennWATCH,” Office of Open Records Executive Director Terry Mutchler said. “Our staff had the opportunity to review PennWATCH and the effort that went into making it possible. This new tool, in conjunction with the Right to Know Law, gives citizens greater access to their government’s records. That’s exactly what the General Assembly intended: greater accountability and transparency.”
Corbett signed the PennWATCH Act (Act 18) in June 2011, directing his Office of Administration to create the website by December 31, 2012, and specifying the types of data to be included. PennWATCH fulfills the governor’s pledge to institute broader transparency and accessibility of information online.
PennWATCH allows users to view appropriations to agencies and funds from the state budget, as well as detailed information on payments made by agencies, including the name and address of the recipient. PennWATCH also provides details on the number of employees in each agency, as well as their annual salaries. Employee compensation information will be posted in mid January.
The website features a variety of search and reporting tools that allow users to filter and “drill down” into the data, as well as save their results. Data is updated monthly and will remain online eight years from when it is posted.
PennWATCH also provides links to other state transparency resources, such as state contracts, lobbyist and campaign finance reports, and Recovery Act spending. There is also a glossary, frequently asked questions, and links to state government websites.
PennWATCH replaces the previous Open Government website created by the Corbett administration.