PUBLIC INFORMATION -- The Pew Charitable Trusts has announced a new project to focus public and policymaker attention on the size and scope of all federal subsidies. Subsidyscope, an initiative of Pew's Economic Policy Department, will aggregate information on subsidies from multiple sources into a comprehensive, searchable, open-source database, which will serve as a gateway for press, policymakers, advocates and the public.

"Federal subsidies go well beyond direct payments from the federal government to private businesses," said Douglas Hamilton, deputy director of Pew's Economic Policy Department. "They also include tax breaks for individuals and corporations, loan guarantees, stock purchases and other financial interventions. And they're massive. By some accounts, the tax breaks for individuals alone cost hundreds of billions of dollars a year."
    Pew will work closely with representatives of partner organizations to call attention to the study of subsidies, both in the project, but also through the work of contributing organizations.
    "By working together, we believe that we can improve the definition of what constitutes subsidies, and highlight the full extent of their reach in the market," said Morton. Pew has engaged the Sunlight Foundation, a national leader on matters of government transparency, as its research and technology partner on the project. Sunlight will be responsible for constructing the technical infrastructure, compiling data and building Subsidyscope's database.