Colorado Transparency Online Project

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Colorado's state-based transparency Web site, Transparency Online Project (TOPs), was created in 2009 by Governor Bill Ritter via executive order and established in statute through State Representative B.J. Nikkel's bill HB09-1288, the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act.[1]

The site includes aggregated expenditure and revenue information by state department, agency and vendor. The information provided is also available in XML format.


Transparency enjoys a colorful history in Colorado. According to Colorado Transparency Spending (COST), Governor Ritter and State Controller David McDermott did not embrace transparency. Rep Nikkel accused the Governor of trying to kill her bill despite enormous bi-partisan support.[2]


Rep. Nikkel said TOPs does not provide the detailed level of information that she envisioned with the Taxpayer Transparency Act.

The National Taxpayers Union, a taxpayer watchdog group, called Governor Ritter's transparency executive order "weak" and "pointless" because the information is aggregated rather than detailed.

The Colorado Transparency Project, a project of Colorado's state-based, free market think tank the Independence Institute, has called TOPs the "nation's most user-unfriendly transparency Web site."


  1. "Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act," Feb 2009
  2. "Ritter working to kill transparency bill" COST, April 3, 2009

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