By Missouri Governor Matt Blunt

Each year Missourians pay more than $3,500 per capita in state and local taxes.* That is one reason why we have reduced taxes during my administration and why I have opposed all efforts to increase your taxes. I also believe that you have a right to know where your money goes and how state government is spending your tax dollars. That is why my administration has been committed to making your state government more efficient and accountable.

I recently signed an executive order to give you easier access to information about state spending and what happens to your tax dollars.

The Missouri Accountability Portal is a free, online tool that provides easy to use data about how the state spends your hard earned money. My goal is to ensure that state government is accountable to Missourians for every dollar we spend.

The Missouri Accountability Portal, or MAP, is one of the first comprehensive searchable databases of financial records based on real-time data in the nation. The portal quite literally maps Missourians' tax dollars.

MAP takes advantage of emerging technologies to improve state services and provide Missourians with more information. My administration built the site with existing state resources and updates information at the close of each business day. Users can search the MAP site at by budget category, vendor or contract. Links to other public information maintained by the state are also available on the site. Beginning in 2008 state employees' salaries and tax credits will be listed on the Internet site.

My administration has been focused on being a faithful steward of your tax dollars while at the same time improving the efficiency of the services we offer. In our ongoing effort to eliminate the waste and abuse in welfare programs we recently announced that more than $2.5 million was recovered when state investigators uncovered such schemes as shielding income from Medicaid claims and elaborate efforts to cheat the child care system. We also were able to expand care to nearly 3,400 children at no expense to you when we identified $19.5 million in savings within the state funded child care program for low-income Missourians.

Rooting out fraud in our state's Medicaid program has been among my chief objectives. Our efforts to stop fraud from growing unchecked has uncovered such abuses as payments being sent to the deceased and recipients living out-of-state. These are just some examples of Medicaid abuse and fraud we have identified and eliminated to save Missouri taxpayers more than $230 million.

You deserve a state government that is efficient and effective, one that uses new technologies to improve services. You also deserve to know how the state spends your hard earned money, and now that information is easy to find. I am committed to making it easier for you to learn more about how we are investing your tax dollars to improve opportunities and provide vital services for the state, and I encourage you to take advantage of MAP to track state spending.

*(according to the nonpartisan educational organization the Tax Foundation)

The above content reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the policies of the National Governors Association.