Reinvent Albany applauds Governor Cuomo for launching Open Budget NY, which is an important step for open government in New York, and a smart first step in his newly announced Open NY initiative. The budget is the most important document our government produces. But until today, it’s been difficult for even experts to work with and fully understand. Open Budget NY changes that. The budget will now be machine readable, and easy to download and analyze in a spreadsheet. This means that New Yorkers — probably journalists, and budget experts in businesses and civic groups — will be able to rapidly crunch the numbers in the budget, and draw their own conclusions about what is being proposed and debated.
Governor Cuomo also deserves credit for posting archival budget data going back to 1954, and for pledging to work with NGOs, academics and civic hackers to make that data machine readable. This archival data will allow budget analysis that provides a much clearer picture of how spending and revenue have changed over time. Beyond today’s budget news, Reinvent Albany is glad to see Governor Cuomo taking the lead in efforts to open up our state government with affordable, everyday, information technology. Technology — smart phones, iPads, apps, the Internet, Wi-Fi, social networking, online commerce and interactive mapping — is transforming the everyday life and work of New Yorkers. These same affordable tools should also be transforming our state government.