Monthly credit card statements for state spending are now online for all to see. The state comptroller general Richard Eckstrom announced at the Statehouse Wednesday that state agency and state university credit card statements are posted for citizens to review…and to question. Eckstrom says:
The public certainly currently has a deep level of distrust in the government. And most of that distrust stems from the fact that they feel the government is a little more involved in the things than they need to be. Underlying all that is the government spends a little bit too much. And so, people, I think, justifiably are concerned over government spending. Credit card spending is probably the least controllable spending in government.
The state purchase card statements are posted at the state comptroller general’s website, purchase-by-purchase, just like a personal credit card statement.
What we do it limit the use of these credit cards to small purchases. Purchases can’t exceed $2,500 – which sounds like a big purchase, but for the state it’s a small purchase. It adds up -tremendously. A quarter or a billion dollars last year. But we want the public to look at these purchases.
Will state agencies who are strapped for time and resources- have the time to deal with such questions. Eckstrom’s answer:
They can’t afford not to. They really have a responsibility to answer these questions. What we found in putting the check disbursements, the purchases that are paid for by checks that are issued out of my office, by putting that detail on line, the number of public inquiries has gone down, not up.
The service of posting agency credit card spending does not cost taxpayers, according to Eckstrom, “We get the information directly from the bank each month. And my own staff puts it up. And so, we use internal resources.”
The record of state government credit card purchases is now online at the South Carolina Comptroller General’s website at www.cg.sc.gov