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Gov opening Fla. budget website to all bidders

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott is seeking competitive bids for a Florida budget website open to all citizens rather than renewing an existing contract that now excludes the public.

The governor's office on Monday confirmed Scott's decision.

The Florida Senate currently has a contract for a little-used secure website called Transparency 2.0 that cost taxpayers about $5 million to develop but is unavailable to the public.

It expires Dec. 31. The contractor, Spider Data Services, wants $1 million a year to renew the contract as is. Making it public would cost more.

The Legislature appropriated $2.5 million to transfer the website to Scott's office and make it public. Scott declined because it's a no-bid contract.

Open government and ethics advocacy groups had urged keeping the present website and making it public.