Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Where does your tax money go?

Now that you've paid your 2010 taxes, are you wondering how your tax money is spent? Louis Garcia and Andrew Johnson, computer engineers from Minneapolis, wondered the same. They created an easy way to view how the federal budget is spent in relation to your tax dollars. Called What We Pay For, the database assumes that tax dollars are pooled into one lump sump to spend on the programs and operations of the federal government. To be sure their data was accurate, the engineers randomly sampled over a hundred records at different levels. They also provide a feedback section for reporting any issues. For more information, check their About page.

In today's world of mashups Anil Kandangath got permission to use the data from What We Pay For to create an interactive chart for quick viewing. His Where Did My Tax Dollars Go? lets you choose the following categories to see proportionally how taxes are spent: single, married (filing jointly), married (filing separately), qualified widow(er), and head of household. Kandangath also has a tab for suggestions to improve the site.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Income Tax Deadline Extended Until April 18, 2011

If you are rushing to complete your income tax return by April 15, relax a little. Because April 15 is Emancipation Day, a District of Columbia holiday, and D.C. holidays impact tax deadlines in the same manner as federal holidays, the tax deadline has been extended until Monday, April 18, 2011. For more information see IRS Kicks Off 2011 Tax Season with Deadline Extended to April 18.

Open Government Initiatives Going Dark

According to Federal News Radio, an internet-only all-news station focusing on the Federal Government and those who do business with it, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will shut down several public and internal government websites started under President Obama's Open Government Initiative because of a lack of e-government funding. Unless something changes, funding will begin to run out April 20 for the public sites:
Funding is projected to run out soon after July 30 for Internal government sites reported to face the budgetary ax include some sites related to the FEDRamp cloud computing cybersecurity effort and:
  • Performance.gov (login required even to view the homepage), and
  • FedSpace
  • .
For the complete story see OMB prepares for open gov sites to go dark in May (March 31, 2011 - 2:46pm).

Other organizations are providing information about these proposed cuts too. William Matthews of GovernmentExecutive.com discusses the scaling back or elimination of these open-government/transparency sites in his April 12, 2011 news story entitled Transparency websites hit by budget ax. (To read the article, click on Continue to Government Executive at the top of the advertising page the link initially accesses.) On April 12 Bill Shuman of the Sunlight Foundation also posted a blog entry entitled Major Cuts for Online Tech Transparency Progs. In the entry Shuman provides a link to bill H.R. 1473 containing the appropriations, a brief Save the Data video, and an opportunity to sign a letter to Congress asking members to protect funding for these sites.