(Albuquerque) – The Rio Grande Foundation is launching a new web site today to track government spending in New Mexico. The site,www.newmexicospending.com, aims to bring more accountability and transparency to how state and local governments spend taxpayer money.
“We believe the taxpayers have a right to know where their money is going,” says Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation. “We are launching this site as a tool to help give them more insight into how their government officials spend the money New Mexicans work so hard to earn for their families.”
At launch the site has payroll and other spending information for the state’s largest school districts for the last couple years: Artesia, Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Rio Rancho, Roswell and Santa Fe.
“Unfortunately, Albuquerque Public Schools and Las Cruces Public Schools have not been very cooperative,” says Gessing.
APS is the state’s largest school district and has often come under fire for hiding information about the district’s spending. Most recently APS was criticized in the media just before the school bond election in February because some of the district’s audits had not been made available to the public.
“What Mr. Winston Brooks (the district’s superintendent) and other school district administrative officials need to understand is that how they spend the public’s money is legally public information, and the public has a right to have that information,” Gessing says. “Refusing to provide it, or charging thousands of dollars for it in order to prevent the public from being able to see it is untrustworthy and makes them appear to be hiding something.”
The www.newmexicospending.com site is a work in progress, Gessing says, and the Rio Grande Foundation will be continually adding new information to it. In addition to school district spending information, the site also has superintendents’ and National Education Association labor contracts.
Newmexicospending.com is the only site to have the state’s school district payroll and other spending online. Gessing points out, “Ideally, the state or the school districts should be doing this themselves. Instead, an outside organization must hold them accountable.”
The Rio Grande Foundation is a research institute dedicated to increasing liberty and prosperity for all of New Mexico’s citizens. We do this by informing New Mexicans of the importance of individual freedom, limited government, and economic opportunity.