Schroder Still Focused on “Checkbook”

When Treasurer John Schroder was running for the statewide-elected office he was sworn into last month, he promised voters a website where government spending could be tracked and investigated.

As Schroder was campaigning on the idea, other lawmakers and special interest groups were also looking into similar models to implement in Louisiana, with most gravitating back toward something called the Ohio Checkbook.

Now there are conservative outfits like the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and the state chapter of Americans For Prosperity vowing to make the spending transparency website a reality.

Schroder, for his part, said in a recent interview that he remains focused on achieving his original goal as well.

“I’ll partner up with anybody, but I don’t want to be stonewalled,” the treasurer said. “We are working our way toward that already in this department.”

If the drive to establish a statewide system fails, Schroder said he would still want to establish online access into his own department.

“I’ll do it,” he said. “I don’t need legislation to do that.”

The Ohio Checkbook was created by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, among others, and it allows anyone to use Google-style queries to track or search for spending by the state, local governments, school districts, pension systems and other entities.

Louisiana has a similar system in place now called LaTrac, but Schroder and others contend it falls short and doesn’t dig deep enough.

“Money and funding is obviously a challenge, but a transparent portal into spending could generate savings for us,” said Schroder. “People’s activities change when you make things more transparent.”

The Ohio Checkbook reportedly cost $800,000 and took two years to bring online.

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