Minnesota's checkbook register went online Thursday.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled a new website, titled TAP Minnesota -- www.mmb.state.mn.us/tap -- that anyone with a computer can access to find out how much money the state is spending and where.
Figures for 2007-09 can be found by state agency, funding source or the vendor receiving the payment. Private data are omitted.
Special funds as well as the general fund can be searched, Pawlenty said. The site will be updated daily.
The governor said he hopes that taxpayers will use it to learn more about their government, scrutinize state spending and even wag a finger at profligate officials.
"We anticipate that this is going to be a powerful new tool," Pawlenty said at a Capitol news conference. "Taxpayers are paying the bills for government in Minnesota, and we think they should have a chance to look at the checkbook register and see where all this money is going in a great amount of detail, and be able to do that on a user-friendly, online, anytime basis."
TAP, which is short for the Transparency and Accountability Project, was developed over several months by the Minnesota Management and Budget office. Pawlenty said there were a number of technical hurdles to overcome, in part because the state's accounting system dates from the mid-1990s. The governor's budget contains funding for a new system.
Pawlenty also commented on a meeting he had Thursday with DFL legislative leaders, who said they had found the governor rigid on financing the state budget.
Pawlenty said that DFLers "expressed their strong desire to raise taxes and I expressed my strong desire not to."
The budget crisis, he said, can be solved only by reducing spending. He noted that President Obama has said it would be unwise to raise taxes for now, during a deep recession.
"I would take it one step further and say it's not wise generally," the governor said.
Kevin Duchschere • 651-292-0164