Jose Oliva Launches New Website to Grade Cities, Counties on Government Spending, Transparency

Even as he gets ready to bow out of Tallahassee, outgoing Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, launched a new website to show how public funds are being used.

On Tuesday, Oliva showcased the site which his office dubbed “an interactive website with downloadable report cards that show rankings and letter grades for every county and municipality in the state.”

The Taxpayers Accountability & Transparency Project (TATP) and the Local Government Report Card was designed to help empower Floridians with real, up-to-date data about the performance of their local governments,” said Oliva. “This project gives residents a useful tool to help them make educated judgments and hold their elected officials accountable.”

The TATP website ranks cities and counties on “government spending, which includes data on six-year average per capita spending and total dollar increase in spending; government debt, which includes data on six-year average per capita debt and total dollar increase in debt;
government size, which includes data on the percent of government spending on salaries and benefits, full-time government employees per 100,000 residents, and average public employee salary; crime, which includes data on violent crime rate, property crime rate (including arson), and total crime clearance rate; education, which includes data on average school grade and graduation rate.”

Drawing on public data, the website assigns rankings to cities and counties, including offering 80 cities F grades for not participating.

“If someone is satisfied with their county’s or city’s spending and debt and thinks that funds have been properly used, that is a positive outcome for this analysis,” Oliva said. “On the other hand, if someone believes their county’s or city’s spending is too high and feels that their quality of life or infrastructure is unfavorable, this project may help inspire them to get involved in their local government’s funding decisions moving forward.”

First elected to the Florida House in a special election in 2011, Oliva is now facing term limits. He became speaker after the 2018 elections.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

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