The project proved to be a massive undertaking, and is a result of the efforts of $10 million in funding and compilation of research from three decades of information from more than 70 local, state, and federal government agencies.
"You know, when I really wanted to understand in depth what a company was doing, Amazon or Apple, I'd get their 10-K and read it", Ballmer said.
"I would like citizens to be able to use this to form intelligent opinions", he told the Times. "Whether government money is spent wisely or not, whether our quality of life is improving or getting worse - that's for you to decide".
Ballmer and 25 "data geeks" pored over more than three decades of government documents to create the USA government spending database. There will be more things we want to add.
"Steve searched for solid, reliable, impartial numbers to tell the story... but eventually realized he wasn't going to find them".
Then it breaks down the spending among those areas, like a company would on a 10-K filing that corporations must do each year.
Using his website, USAFacts.org, a person could look up just about anything: How much revenue do airports take in and spend?
Fast-forward to Tuesday, when Ballmer will debut his new initiative - compiled with the help of academics at places like Stanford University - during an event at the Economic Club of NY. The 10-K doesn't highlight the quirks of the U.S. Congress that render it hard to pass legislation, the slow-moving nature of the rest of Washington, or the role of corporate executives - Ballmer included - to fund political candidates for those very offices.
Ballmer said that he "would remain open to offers if they come in". "I can't show it!" There is information on the number of firearms manufactured, licensed and inspected, but not on the total number of guns, he said. "I'm shocked!" he said, blaming the U.S. gun lobby for the lack of transparency.
Ballmer is hoping that the website is just the beginning.
When Ballmer retired from Microsoft in 2014, he initially rejected becoming a philanthropist, believing that the taxes he paid were good enough. "I can't say I saw anything coming about the standing of facts; I never anticipated that we would launch in this environment today".
"I thought more of it would be summarized someplace", he said.