The second annual “Following the Money” report by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group gave the state failing marks on government transparency due to its lack of internet information on government spending.
The report, “Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” said the state received an “F” because it doesn’t have a website with checkbook-level detail on state spending.
However, the report also noted that the Office of Fiscal Analysis has been working over the last year to build a searchable database with the information. That site is expected to go live on July 1.
In a prepared statement, Fiscal Analysis Director Alan Calandro said the database is being created with in-house resources and the cooperation of many state agencies.
“In addition to the searchable database, OFA has been working toward increasing the level of information available on our website, such as the posting of state budgets back to 1973 and all formal reports and analyses that can be searched by keyword. OFA anticipates that the level of information on the website will continuously escalate,” he said.
ConnPIRG Program Associate Jenn Hatch said that, while Connecticut still has a long way to go to be fully transparent, the database will be a step in the right direction.
“Having one of the best transparency websites in the nation is important because it would shine a light on Connecticut’s government spending. We’ve got plenty of room for improvement, but with the enthusiasm at the OFA in looking to other states as models for Connecticut, we’re looking forward to the new searchable site going live in July, and moving forward from there” she said. “Given the current severity of our budget problems, Connecticut residents need to be able to follow the money.”
States that earned the top grades on government spending transparency included: Kentucky, Texas, Indiana, Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon, the report said.