RouteFifty: Will California Counties Open Their Data If They Don’t Have to Pay?

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Article originally appeared at RouteFifty

By, Dave Nyczepir

California county governments not already using OpenGov’s cloud-based financial analysis platform are being offered their first year of service for free.

OpenGov’s transparency software, which allows citizens to pour through their local government’s budget to see how their tax dollars are spent, is used by 300 clients nationally and 12 California counties.

Innovate Your State, a nonprofit aimed at improving government, hopes to incentivize the remaining 46 counties to open their spending and revenue data with $500,000 in reimbursement grants for purchasing and OpenGov subscription.

“Transforming budget data into meaningful information for the public, staff, and administrators can be a challenge for public administrators. In many cases outdated technology stands in the way,” company CEO Zac Bookman told Route Fifty. “Public administrators in counties and cities of all sizes across the state are embracing new technology for efficient and effective financial reporting that reinforces trust and increases engagement with the community.”

The first counties to subscribe and complete a reimbursement grant application will receive a refund while the money lasts, Bookman added, and there’s sufficient money to reimburse all those likely to apply—though the service packages some choose could change that.

Grants are an extension of the IYS Fix California Challenge, a competition that crowdsources innovative ideas from citizens to make government more efficient and to which OpenGov applied.

That public officials can analyze historical financial trends, manage operations and make data-driven decisions using OpenGov’s intuitive, interactive reports was cited as the primary reason IYS is backing the platform.

“When we started the Fix California Challenge, I said that, in addition to statewide ballot initiatives, if there was a venture governance idea out there that could fundamentally improve government, we might fund that idea directly,” IYS President Tim Draper said in a statement. “OpenGov is such an idea. This platform advances our shared mission to make public administration more transparent, data-driven and efficient.”

Dave Nyczepir is News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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