State shows how bread is spent

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Commissioner Tom Hanson

Minnesotans can use computers to find out that their governor’s office spent $60 at Saint Agnes Baking Co. for "supplies."

Dig a little deeper and a computer user can find it was for "food," but that’s about it.

Still, learning about the $60 expenditure to a firm that claims "there’s nothing ordinary about Saint Agnes’ bread" is more than Minnesotans could have done a couple of days ago. Gov. Tim Pawlenty Thursday announced launch of a new Transparency and Accountability Project for Minnesota Web site at www.mmb.state.mn.us/tap.

"It’s the state’s checkbook," State Budget Director James Schowalter said.

The Web site allows Web surfers to look at how the state spends 85 percent of its money, Showalter said.

Public employee salaries are not included on the site. They are public information, he added, but are on a different computer system.

Pawlenty said the Web site was built to give Minnesotans a chance to see how money is spent – "allow the door to be kicked open."

The governor said he hopes citizens will become government watchdogs via the site.

"On-line, all-the-time access to information is a powerful tool that will empower citizens to help hold government accountable," he said.

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