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Nevada launches new site to promote transparency in government spending

Nevada released a new platform Tuesday that offers up-to-date information about state finances, as well as details on the state’s highest-paid employee and which retired employee has the biggest pension.

Controller Andy Matthews said the platform, available at checkbook.nv.gov, aims to increase government transparency and accountability.

The website contains a variety of financial resources, including state employee salaries, state and departmental budgets, total government spending, pension disbursements, travel expenses and state contracts.

“The case for transparency and government spending could not be clearer,” Matthews said during a news conference unveiling the new site Tuesday. “This is the people’s money, and they deserve to know exactly how and where their government is spending it.”

When he campaigned for office in 2022, he promised to put state spending online for Nevadans to see, Matthews said.

“In this era where so much divides us along partisan lines, this is an issue that can unite all Nevadans,” he said. “We can debate all day long over the question of bigger government or smaller government, but we should all be able to agree on the need for open, transparent and accountable government.”

With this website, the government will provide information proactively without having to be asked through a public records request, Matthews said. And while policymakers hold debates over fiscal issues, taxpayers will be able to look at the website to develop their own informed opinions, he said.

Checkbook.nv.gov shows how much each government department has spent so far this year, where that money came from, whether that’s the state’s general fund, which covers 62 percent of the state’s budget, or through loans.

The Department of Education, for instance, spent the most of any other department so far with $3.97 billion, most out of the state education fund. The entire state government has spent $13.67 billion in 2024 out of its $35.63 billion budget.

The site also reveals how much state officials have spent on travel. So far in 2024, the governor’s office spent about $21,000 of its $34,000 in-state travel budget, according to the website.

Nevadans can also learn about overtime pay and fringe benefits as they research public employee compensation. The Department of Corrections, for example, spent the most in overtime pay with $37.9 million.

“The Nevada Open Finance Portal is an unprecedented tool in my administration’s efforts to bring accountability and integrity to state government,” Gov. Joe Lombardo said in a statement. “Controller Matthews and his team have worked diligently to provide this transparent resource for Nevada taxpayers, and I’m proud of their work to increase understanding of the state budget process.”

For the record, the highest paid state employee in 2023 was agriculturist Suzanne Suter, at $367,000. The largest pension in 2023 went to former UNR football Coach Chris Ault at $332,000.

The controller’s office welcomes questions and suggestions for how to improve the site, and it can be contacted at checkbook@sco.nv.gov.

Contact Jessica Hill at jehill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jess_hillyeah on X.

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