Over the past several years there has been a great demand to increase the transparency of governmental spending as citizens want to know how tax dollars are being spent. ARS 41-725 requires the state and local governments to provide taxpayers with exactly that kind of information.
The statute requires the State of Arizona provide information related to revenues and expenditures for free to the public via the internet. The information is currently available at openbooks.az.gov
The statute does not only apply to the state government but also to any county, city or town with a population of more than 2,500 persons. Additionally any community college district or school districts with more than 600 pupils will also be impacted by the statute. These local governments and educational districts will need to comply with the statute on or before January 1, 2013.
The statute requires that these local governments establish and maintain a website that is accessible without cost to the public and contains a comprehensive reporting of revenues and expenditures over $5,000. The information must be presented in the same manner as the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). Governments who prepare a CAFR may publish the CAFR on their official website to satisfy the requirement of this statute. Those entities that do not, will still need to present information in the same manner as if a CAFR was prepared.
Jeff Patterson, CPA