Calculating Portugal's taxesOutdated Content Warning: This content refers to an older version of OpenSpending. See here for information about the next version of OpenSpending and ways to contribute.
This post is by Nuno Moniz, who has recently developed an application to allow citizens in Portugal to calculate where their taxes go. Portuguese citizens can see how much they contribute to the State on a daily, weekly and monthly basis here and if they live in the Azores Autonomous Region they will also be able to see how much they contribute at a local level here.
During this last year or so, Portugal has been submerged in a vigorous discussion that concerns the economy, finances, social issues… but above all, money. The debt, the obligations, the budgets…
Although in the latter years the Portuguese Government has shown some improvements in terms of e-democracy, mainly related to the public administration, when it comes to open data only now can we see some light at the end of the tunnel. The new Government Data Portal was launched in November, and it already has some data available. It presents a great opportunity for the open data community in Portugal to start joining efforts. Some projects had previously been developed, and I believe the most significant was http://demo.cratica.net, a parliament tracker.
In the late October, when the first draft for the 2012 Portuguese State Budget was delivered to the Parliament, and inspired by a considerable number of interesting projects that I have been following regarding open data, I thought about developing a simple and different way to visualize what the Budget holds. Soon I found out that thanks to OKFN’s BubbleTree the work load could be really reduced. Great news and great help.
That enabled me to launch a Portuguese 2012 Budget Visualization in a week. It took around two days only to extract the data from the budget document. This shows exactly the difficulty of understanding one of the most important State documents. In addition to most divulged projects of this sort, I added some additional information which that would be fun for people to see: the monthly, weekly and daily contributions to the various objects of the State Budget. It was very interesting to see the final result, so I continued and replicated the initiative to the Azores Autonomous Region of Portugal also.
I’m currently working on my thesis regarding open legislation. By the summer we’ll have about three years of open Portuguese legislation available :) In the meantime, the Government Data Portal holds some data that would be very interesting to push the growth of the open data community in Portugal. And since no one seems to discuss anything else than economy in the news, I have also started working on the Public Contract and Direct Adjudications (celebration of contracts without public auction). Let’s see what it will show.
Please send any feedback or questions you have for Nuno via the OpenSpending mailing list.