Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The most transparent states for government spending (28 items)

By , Deseret News

April 8, 2014

Transparency is necessary for the survival of any democracy, and as they say, all politics is local.

This month, the Online Access to Government Spending Data Foundation (OSPIRG) published a report that rated the local government of each state (plus the District of Columbia) according to the transparency of their financial dealings.

"Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services," the study's authors wrote. "Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are well spent."

In order to judge said "transparency," OSPIRG inspected 13 elements on each state government website designed to provide financial transparency.

Each element was then given a rating based on a uniform standard for each category. For example, Utah, which scored a B- overall, received 24 out of 24 points for "providing a list or database of individual expenditures made to individual recipients," which was labeled by the researchers as the "Checkbook" score.

Of the 51 states or districts rated, 28 scored at least a B- overall, indicating superior levels of transparency. You might be surprised by which states didn't make the cut.

1 of 28. Arkansas

OSPIRG grade: B-
Point total: 82


Checkbook level: 24/24

Search by recipient: 8/8

Search by keyword: 8/8

Search by agency: 8/8

Bulk downloadable: 6/6

Quasi-public agencies: 4/6

Excluded Information: 4/4

Checkbook level: 9/15

Downloadable: 2/4

Projected public benefits: 0/4

Actual public benefits: 0/4

Tax expenditure reports: 9/9

Recouped funds: 0/4

2 of 28. Utah

OSPIRG grade: B-
Point total: 82


Checkbook level: 24/24

Search by recipient: 8/8

Search by keyword: 8/8

Search by agency: 8/8

Bulk downloadable: 6/6

Quasi-public agencies: 4/6

Excluded Information: 4/4

Checkbook level: 9/15

Downloadable: 0/4

Projected public benefits: 2/4

Actual public benefits: 0/4

Tax expenditure reports: 9/9

Recouped funds: 0/4

3 of 28. Oklahoma

OSPIRG grade: B-
Point total: 82


Checkbook level: 24/24

Search by recipient: 8/8

Search by keyword: 8/8

Search by agency: 8/8

Bulk downloadable: 6/6

Quasi-public agencies: 4/6

Excluded Information: 2/4

Checkbook level: 11/15

Downloadable: 2/4

Projected public benefits: 0/4

Actual public benefits: 0/4

Tax expenditure reports: 9/9

Recouped funds: 0/4

4 of 28. Nebraska

OSPIRG grade: B-
Point total: 82


Checkbook level: 24/24

Search by recipient: 8/8

Search by keyword: 8/8

Search by agency: 8/8

Bulk downloadable: 6/6

Quasi-public agencies: 4/6

Excluded Information: 2/4

Checkbook level: 9/15

Downloadable: 1/4

Projected public benefits: 3/4

Actual public benefits: 0/4

Tax expenditure reports: 9/9

Recouped funds: 0/4

5 of 28. Pennsylvania

OSPIRG grade: B-
Point total: 82.5


Checkbook level: 24/24

Search by recipient: 8/8

Search by keyword: 8/8

Search by agency: 8/8

Bulk downloadable: 0/6

Quasi-public agencies: 4/6

Excluded Information: 4/4

Checkbook level: 14/15

Downloadable: 0/4

Projected public benefits: 3.5/4

Actual public benefits: 0/4

Tax expenditure reports: 9/9

Recouped funds: 0/4
1. Itsjstmeagain
Merritt Island, Fl,
April 9, 2014

I can't say I agree with the ranking of Florida.

2. J-TX
Allen, TX,
April 10, 2014

I have to agree with the top 4, having lived in each of these states.