The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence.
In the past few years, state governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals. These government-operated websites allow visitors to view the government’s checkbook – who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes. Most of these websites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to follow the money and monitor government spending of many sorts. Today almost every state operates a transparency website with the state’s checkbook accessible to the public.
Over the past two years, the number of states that give citizens access to their state’s checkbook has increased from 32 to 46.
This report is U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s third annual ranking of states’ progress toward “Transparency 2.0” – a new standard of comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.