Without a doubt the most important statement of public policy that occurs in state government is the state budget.

The two-year budget dictates how the state spends money and carries with it countless provisions affecting how state and local governments serve the public. This year the budget will be written and amended over several months in a Statehouse completely dominated by a single political party, a process which needs to be watched closely.

Plunderbund is proud to announce its new sister website called Ohio Budget Watch which intends to do just that.

Ohio Budget Watch is focused exclusively on the process, policy and politics of the state budget. It will provide information in plain English on provisions contained in the budget, allowing readers to understand who and what may benefit from the proposals introduced by the Governor and amended by the House and Senate with input from a variety of special interests and lobbyists.

Using a network of contributors with access to the conversation taking place on Capitol Square, we can give readers early warning about important developments – whenever possible, before votes are taken – providing an opportunity to weigh in and make your voice heard.

Specifically, OBW will offer:

· Daily reporting on committee hearings, proposed amendments, priorities being pushed by interest groups and summaries of press coverage from around the state

· Calendar of upcoming events

· Analysis of important proposals and of the debate taking place at the Statehouse

· Frequent action opportunities for readers to get involved in the policy-making discussion

· A forum for discussion through guest postings, comments and social media

While Plunderbund continues actively exposing the politics and policies of the budget, OBW will go deep into the policy weeds, covering a variety of proposals being debated simultaneously. When there are important developments that affect a large number of Ohioans, both sites we will work together closely to cover every angle and ensure readers have the information they know to engage in the debate and make their voices heard.

If you want to contribute to OBW, either as a blogger or occasional tipster, email us at editor@ohiobudgetwatch.com. Your identity will never be disclosed unless you request attribution. You can also comment anonymously on any of the posts on our site.

Visit Ohio Budget Watch at www.ohiobudgetwatch.com and follow us at twitter.com/ohbudgetwatch