Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley last week signed the Fiscal Transparency Act into law enabling the public to view monthly reports on the Internet about the state’s finances.
In addition to opening up the state’s finances, the act is designed to provide state agencies with a heads-up about conditions that may lead to mid-year or multiple budget cuts when expenses are exceeding revenues.
The Alabama Department of Finance now will publicly post on its website details about the fiscal activities for the two components that comprise the state budget: the general fund and Education Trust Fund. The reports must include beginning and ending monthly balances, revenue forecasts and sources, and up-to-date details of expenditures and appropriations.
“If state government is to be run like a business, then Alabama taxpayers should be considered its stockholders, and like any shareholder they deserve to know the intimate details of its finances,” said Rep. Paul DeMarco, R-Homewood, who sponsored the act in HB 25. “With this law, any citizen will have access to important information about revenue coming into state government, money going out, and how each is being used.”