The White House introduced the ability to generate a “federal taxpayer receipt” on its Web site Friday.
The online service allows taxpayers to enter information about their Social Security tax, Medicare tax and income tax from their 2010 taxes and calculate a “receipt” showing how much is spent on national defense, health care, education and job training, veteran’s benefits and other parts of the federal budget.
“Have you ever wondered how much of your own tax dollars actually go to support foreign aid?” said presidential senior advisor David Plouffe in an email. “To support education? Well, now you can find out —and you might be surprised. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama promised that this year, for the first time, American taxpayers would be able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. So today, we’re announcing the first-ever federal taxpayer receipt.”
Last month, Senators Scott Brown, R-Mass., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., introduced legislation that would give taxpayers a similar itemized receipt as the one introduced Friday on the White House site (see Senators Introduce ‘Taxpayer Receipt’ Law). On Friday, Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., reintroduced the Taxpayer Receipt Act, which was first introduced in the previous congressional term. His office said the legislation would make the White House's new federal taxpayer receipt available to the American people long into the future.
A separate Web site called WhatWePayFor.com created by a pair of Minneapolis computer engineers. Louis Garcia and Andrew Johnson, has provided similar information since last September in tabular format. In February, their site announced a “data visualization challenge” with Google and Eyebeam to provide a better graphic visualization of how taxpayer money is spent. The finalists can be found here.
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