Budget and Expenditures

Item Description
Current Status Informal discussion
Potential Implementing Agencies Local, State and Federal Governments
Potential Founding/Sponsoring Organizations Open Knowledge Foundation, Local government entities, Data Transparency Coalition

Analysis -- Future Potential and Adoption

Standard data formats for publication of municipal or other government budgets are not yet available. “Open budgeting” is usually part of a larger conversation regarding citizen participation in the budgeting process (“participatory budgeting”). The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) has developed a budget publication platform, OpenSpending, that is used by many governments around the world. The software is open source and it provides an API, which could serve as a foundation for an open budget standard. Socrata has also released applications specifically aimed at Open Budget and Open Expenditures. A candidate for City Controller in Philadelphia, Brett Mandel, successfully obtained a copy of the Philadelphia budget and developed an application that supported visualization and research on the local budget.

Government expenditures are an additional, related opportunity for open data standards. The budget sets the overall blueprint for spending, but the companies and individuals on which the budget is spent are an important additional type of data. In May 2014, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) was signed into law and calls for open, standardized data and online publication. As the law is enacted, it may spur additional steps at the local level.

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