New report ranks state government spending transparency

Emily Grannis | Freedom of Information | News | April 9, 2014

A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund awarded eight states a grade of A for comprehensive websites detailing public spending, while three states received Fs.

Indiana ranked the highest of all the states, earning 94 of 100 possible points. Oregon, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont and Wisconsin all earned 90 or more points.

The three lowest ranking states were Idaho, Alaska and California, with California pulling in the lowest score: 34 out of 100.

USPIRG rated the states' transparency websites on three criteria: whether they were comprehensive, whether they were "one-stop," and whether they were "one-click searchable and downloadable." One-stop referred to whether residents of the state could find all government expenditures on one website. The third category looked at whether residents could search and sort data based on different variables, and whether users could download the data from the website.

The state transparency sites are part of an effort toward more pro-active disclosure of public information.