DebtWatch Launches: Shining a Light on California’s Debt
This week, California launched a new open data website that lets people explore how state and local entities are using debt to build infrastructure and provide services. The site, debtwatch.treasurer.ca.gov, is supported by Socrata and transforms over 30 years of reporting into transparent open data.
In California, government entities are required by statute to share debt issuance data with the state’s Debt and Investment Advisory Commission. However, it was difficult for taxpayers to access and analyze the reportings. The new resource, which offers 2.8 million fields of data collected since 1984, enables site visitors to explore data by county or issuer type. Intuitive, visual tools make it easier for the general public to look up data about their community, download raw numbers, create charts, and make comparisons among issuers.
A clickable map from DebtWatch, which provides an easy view of each county’s debt in the state.
California State Treasurer John Chiang says that the site has “brought the data out of the shadows and presented it in an easy-to-use, more accessible way using graphics and tools that permit slicing and dicing.” He added, “We want to engage a broad audience. We have not left anyone out, from Jane Q. Public looking for an intuitive interface, to sophisticated data experts seeking raw data for their own research.” The site will be updated monthly and Treasurer Chiang encourages users to share feedback.