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Open Letter to Software Companies

This is an updated version of the letter which was mailed and faxed to nearly 100 governmental software manufacturers, including Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems, in July 2003. It is intended to spark the entrepreneurial spirit of small- to mid-size software manufacturers and give R & D departments of major software manufacturers a chance to begin creating the software.

Dear Accounting Software Manufacturer:

I would like to inform you of an emerging need and opportunity in the field of accounting software used by the State of California.

The State of California will likely place on the November 2004 ballot an initiative that calls for the posting of all its finances daily to the Web.

This is in response to the idea that I developed as a private citizen in my run for Los Angeles Mayor, and am actively promoting throughout California. See www.postthefinances.com.

The idea of posting all government finances daily to government Web sites will promote fiscal honesty at all levels of government and give ordinary citizens an unprecedented degree of oversight of their elected officials. I anticipate that California will be the first state to adopt this idea, and there will soon be many more.

Here is what is needed: an accounting software program that will complement whatever such programs are currently used by Californian government at all levels. The program would need to have the ability to take interactive accounting information and convert it to static information in the form of a simple checkbook register that could be uploaded with a couple of key strokes to any and all governmental web sites.

The purpose would be to show clearly every penny received and every penny spent.

The program would need to create a "money trail" for citizens to navigate their way through governmental Web sites and see all the daily revenues and expenditures of the city, county, and state government. It would also need to archive revenues and expenditures for previous days, in such a way that each day's finances can be easily accessed, like an online newspaper archive.

The program needs to be simple and graphically pleasing, so any nonspecialist computer user can access the fiscal data quickly. It could maybe even have in the upper corner of the checkbook register the yearly budget allotted to the specific department, and the total expenditure so far that year.

See the sample "State of Lincoln"on the postthefinances.com site at http://www.postthefinances.com/stateoflincoln/index.html

Let me emphasize again that California is the first state to consider this kind of "Post the Finances" model. It can act as a template for other cities, counties and states to follow. Although State officials in California have been unresponsive to my proposal, I anticipate that the citizens of California will see "Post the Finances" as a way of restoring residents' confidence and trust in government. That trust has been badly damaged by the bad fiscal management of recent years, which has seen the California budget deficit soar to $38 billion.

Governor-elect Schwarzenegger has promised an audit of the state's finances, but such a one-time audit, although useful and necessary, is not going to be enough to satisfy the majority of Californians, who realize they must exercise much more careful and continuous oversight over what elected officials and state-appointed bureaucrats do with taxpayer money.

Since fiscal honesty in government is a big issue in California at the moment, I have little doubt that voters will approve the Post the Finances, officially known as the "State Revenue and Expenditures Initiative Statute" initiative. Then the rush will be on.

Other states, as well as cities, counties and the federal government, will also be open to adopting Post the Finances. I therefore anticipate that there will soon be a large demand for the kind of software I have outlined here. It is only a matter of time before "Post the Finances" is adopted at all levels of government, local, state and federal. And all these government entities will need to purchase the software necessary to implement the mandate they have received.

I hope you will agree that this is an exciting possibility that offers your company the chance to develop a new range of accounting software.

I warmly invite you to contact me to discuss this project in more detail.


Steve Mozena

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Steve Mozena, Post the Finances, P.O. Box 92679, Long Beach, CA 90809, (562)494-9606

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