MASSPIRG Education Fund
Online Budget Transparency
State governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Enabling citizens to track that spending can help ensure that state funds are spent wisely.
Following the Money, the seventh annual evaluation of spending transparency, reviews states’ progress toward providing transparency and accountability for state government spending that is:
• Comprehensive, including information about contracts, spending, subsidies and tax expenditures.
• One-stop, presenting data on all government expenditures on a single website.
• One-click searchable and downloadable, allowing browsing or searching with common-sense queries.
Grading the States
All 50 states operate websites to make information on state spending accessible to the public, but the quality of these sites varies widely.
• 18 states, led by Ohio, Michigan, Indiana andOregon,receivedan“A.”Visitorsto these sites can find information on specific vendor payments, and can download the entire checkbook dataset for analysis.
• 17 states received a “B,” with spending information that is easy to access but more limited than the spending information provided by “A” states.
• 10statesreceiveda“C”fortheircheckbook- level spending information but limited information on subsidies or other “off- budget” expenditures.
• 5 states received a “D” or “F” for their limited online budget data.