The searchable budget website provides an unprecedented level of interactivity allowing users to create their own budget reports to compare state spending over time.
"The state's new fiscal website is a great resource for citizens regardless of the level of their budget expertise," said Jason Mercier, Government Reform director at Washington Policy Center. "From the green eyeshade policy analyst to the casual observer, users can create a customized look at how our tax dollars are being spent."
The reader is treated to an array of colored pie charts, bar graphs and spread sheets about revenue, budget forecasts and department caseloads.
Not being a fan of green eyeshade, wearing it only on special occasions, count me as more of a casual observer. As for being truly "searchable" however, at the moment let's just assume Fiscal.wa is a work in progress.
My first search was to get a fiscal note on SB 6818 for the site itself. It's one of those things reporters are supposed to do. How much did Fiscal.wa.gov cost the taxpayer? No results. And no easy way to find the amount short of trudging through the entire state budget.
Other keywords like "Tacoma Narrows Bridge", "WSDOT", "State Patrol", "Poet Laureate" and "Apple Commission" all turned up snake-eyes.
So, at the moment, the best tool for state budget watchdogs is still Access Washington, which is admittedly cluttered, but still has the juice needed if you know where to squeeze.