Maryland received a grade of “C” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the Maryland PIRG Foundation.
“State governments across the country have become more transparent about where public money goes, providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials and businesses that receive public funds accountable,” said Jenny Levin, state advocate with Maryland PIRG Foundation.
Officials from Maryland and 47 other states provided the researchers with feedback on their initial evaluation of state transparency web sites. The leading states with the most comprehensive transparency web sites are Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Oklahoma.
Based on an inventory of the content and ease-of-use of states’ transparency web sites, “Following the Money 2013” assigns each state a grade of “A” to “F.” Maryland’s transparency web site, which garnered a “C,” provides checkbook-level information on contracts and other expenditures. However, it lacks detailed information on economic development tax credits and the projected and achieved benefits of economic development subsidies.
Since last year’s “Following the Money” report, there has been progress across the country with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to this data.
To access the state’s transparency web site, visit spending.dbm.maryland.gov; to read the report, visit www.marylandpirg.org/reports/mdp/following-money-2013.