HAWAII SPENDING TRANSPARENCY SITE MAKES ITS DEBUT

Honolulu, Hawaii - Today the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii (GRIH) announced the launch of HawaiiSunshine.org, a new web site that promises to revolutionize government accountability in Hawaii by revealing waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars at the state and local level.

The site exposes details for more than $12 billion in state spending and transfers since 2008. Using open records requests, GRIH procured spending data from every state agency and has placed it online in an easily searchable database. Site visitors can browse contractor payments, spending by agency, and even salary ranges for state government positions. A quick search exposes spending such as:

  • $2,675 in dry cleaning bills
  • $780 for limousine services
  • Nearly $60,000 to one company for office leasing
  • $120,000 to an individual artist
  • $218 to a home video store

"After the State of Hawaii failed to implement Act 272, a measure passed by our legislature in 2007 that would have created a spending transparency website, we decided to take on the project ourselves," said Jamie Story, President of GRIH. "HawaiiSunshine.org is more comprehensive and interactive than the state's proposed site—and as an added bonus, it wasn't funded with tax dollars!"

Unlike the state's proposed site, which would have only displayed individual expenditures greater than $25,000, HawaiiSunshine.org displays every purchase reported by the state, down to the penny. The site also features a discussion forum where participants can brainstorm and strategize about ways to stop wasteful government spending, and users can report questionable spending using the site's "Pork Alert" function.

"The ultimate goal of HawaiiSunshine.org is to provide the ammunition taxpayers need to hold legislators accountable for the way they spend our money," said Story. "Essentially, we're recruiting and empowering the taxpayers of Hawaii to serve as citizen auditors. I, for one, can't wait to see what they dig up."

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is an independent, non-partisan think tank based in Honolulu. The Institute's mission is to achieve a freer and more prosperous Hawaii through the principles of free markets, individual liberty and limited, more accountable government.

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