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Indiana found most transparent in study of state data access

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California, the U.S. state with the largest population and budget, offers the least website access to its government spending data, according to an analysis by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.

Indiana provided the most information, and Oregon, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts also scored high with online disclosure of details on contracts, expenditures and economic-development subsidies, the report released Tuesday found.

Alaska and Idaho also got failing grades. New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie pledged unprecedented transparency, ranked 30th.

Last year was the first that all 50 states operated websites to make information on state spending accessible to the public, according to the not-for-profit group, which advocates for transparency in government. North Carolina and Colorado were among the 10 whose access improved the most since 2013.

California, with a proposed $106.8 billion annual budget, a record high, provided no ability to search contracts and expenditures by recipient, keyword or agency. On economic development, it had no web-based detail on areas including projected and actual public benefits, tax-expenditure reports and recouped funds.

Michael Liang, a spokesman for the California Department of General Services, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call or an e-mail for comment on the study.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. last year created a "Transparency Portal," which allows users to search for and view incentive contracts the state has reached with companies.

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  1. I'm a CPA who works with a wide range of companies (through my firm K.B.Parrish & Co.); however, we work with quite a few car dealerships, so I'm fairly interested in Fatwin (mentioned in the article). Does anyone have much information on that, or a link to such information? Thanks.

  2. Historically high long-term unemployment, unprecedented labor market slack and the loss of human capital should not be accepted as "the economy at work [and] what is supposed to happen" and is certainly not raising wages in Indiana. See Chicago Fed Reserve: goo.gl/IJ4JhQ Also, here's our research on Work Sharing and our support testimony at yesterday's hearing: goo.gl/NhC9W4

  3. I am always curious why teachers don't believe in accountability. It's the only profession in the world that things they are better than everyone else. It's really a shame.

  4. It's not often in Indiana that people from both major political parties and from both labor and business groups come together to endorse a proposal. I really think this is going to help create a more flexible labor force, which is what businesses claim to need, while also reducing outright layoffs, and mitigating the impact of salary/wage reductions, both of which have been highlighted as important issues affecting Hoosier workers. Like many other public policies, I'm sure that this one will, over time, be tweaked and changed as needed to meet Indiana's needs. But when you have such broad agreement, why not give this a try?

  5. I could not agree more with Ben's statement. Every time I look at my unemployment insurance rate, "irritated" hardly describes my sentiment. We are talking about a surplus of funds, and possibly refunding that, why, so we can say we did it and get a notch in our political belt? This is real money, to real companies, large and small. The impact is felt across the board; in the spending of the company, the hiring (or lack thereof due to higher insurance costs), as well as in the personal spending of the owners of a smaller company.

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