Report gives state high marks on spending transparency

Posted by Lynn Bonner on April 8, 2014 

This may come as a surprise to people who have tried to get certain state agencies (we’re looking at you DHHS) to provide public records, but the state has scored well on a national report card measuring transparency of state spending.

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund, in its fifth annual evaluation of the transparency of state spending websites, gave North Carolina a B+ and found it to be one of the top 10 most improved.

The Office of State Budget and Management operates the website, with help from the state Department of Administration, the Office of the State Controller, and the Office of Information Technology Services, according to the Public Interest Research Group.

The North Carolina site, NC OpenBook, is searchable by recipient, keyword and agency, according to the PIRG report. But the state is weaker in providing information about economic development subsidies and making data available for bulk downloads.

“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 recipients of public subsidies accountable,” Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst with the N.C. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, said in a statement. “We’re hoping that North Carolina will be a leader next year.”

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