MacIver Institute Announces Contest

[Madison, Wisc…] The MacIver Institute wants to give you $500 for learning about how your tax dollars are spent.

To promote, the free market think tank is offering a $500 prize for the most interesting information gleaned from the new government transparency website.

“Thousands of people have already gone to, our new transparency website, to search the public payroll information of state and local government employees,” said MacIver Institute President Brett Healy. “We’re announcing this contest to encourage more people to give it a try.”

Launched earlier this year, the MacIver Institute’s new open government site provides you with one location for data on Wisconsin public employee salaries, benefits and labor contracts. MacIver has worked hard to not just allow “access” the way many government information sites do, but to give you all of the data in a format that allows you to select and sort the information as you see fit.

“So, go to and dig around,” said Healy. “Entering the contest is as simple as sending us the most interesting data, fact or statistic you discover by using the website.”

The MacIver Institute just added 2010 payroll data for more than 30,000 state employees to the site.

“Here’s an example of a potential entry, which incorporates data found on our site,” Healy said. “The median family income in Wisconsin is $52,103. Last year, 20 state employees make more than that in overtime.”

Healy said the most interesting entry, as judged by the staff of the MacIver Institute, will receive a check for $500 and will be featured prominently in future news releases about the WiOpenGov website.

The contest runs through the month of May.

Entries can be mailed to:

MacIver Institute staff does not augment or manipulate the data it receives from the state and local governments. Healy says currently includes payroll information for all state employees, payroll and benefit information for every K-12 school employee in Wisconsin and information from several large municipalities. All of the data available on www.WIOpenGov.orgis public, in accordance to state law. However, different government entities have varying commitments to just how accessible the information was to the general public.

The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a two-year old think tank located on the Capitol Square in Madison, is the Free Market Voice for Wisconsin. In addition to, MacIver publishes research and analysis on education, tax and health care issues and operates the MacIver News Service—a copyright free open source news-reporting agency which focuses on free market issues in the public arena.