Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to shut down a state-run "transparency" website has caused California to slip in an annual ranking based on access to government spending data.
California, one of eight states to receive the ranking's second-lowest grade of "D minus," saw its score drop 13 points from last year, according to the California Public Interest Research Group's third annual report on government spending transparency.
The report cites that the shutdown of the "Reporting Transparency in Government" website is a major force behind the change, saying the move left "state spending information scattered across multiple agencies' websites." Brown's administration replaced the site, which was launched by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, with links to other state websites where the same information could be found last year, along with a note saying the Democratic governor "is committed to keeping state government open and transparent while eliminating inefficiencies and unnecessary costs."
"As home to the tech industry, it's disappointing and embarrassing that California is not only lagging behind, but actively moving in the wrong direction when it comes to keeping pace with current online transparency standards," CALPIRG Legislative Director Pedro Morillas said in a statement.
Brown spokesman Evan Westrup defended the move, saying the website "was poorly maintained, underutilized and had not been regularly updated by the previous administration."
"All information previously posted on the site continues to be available to the public," he wrote in an email. "We remain committed to transparency, while also working to eliminate redundancies, make government more efficient and save taxpayer dollars."
Not all groups give the state's online efforts such low marks. As The State Worker reported this week, the nonprofit Sunshine Review recently honored the state's ca.gov website with an award and an "A-" grade.
Click here to read the full report.
Jerry Brown shuts down government transparency website
Editor's note: This post was updated with a statement from Brown spokesman Evan Westrup.