The Public Eye

Reports from the Bee's investigative team

March 16, 2011
California gets a D+ for government transparency

When it comes to openness about government spending, California ranks low among the states according to a new study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Despite the creation of a government transparency web site, California still has "serious deficiencies" in providing public online access to spending data.

"If Californians look hard enough at the budget voted on today they'll notice some serious holes in their ability to follow the money. Billions of dollars in tax breaks and economic development subsidies are spent every year with no disclosure to the public of who gets them or how much they get," said Pedro Morillas CALPIRG Consumer Advocate in a press release.

California earned 62 out of 100 points in the USPIRG's scorecard of state budgetary openness. You can see a detailed breakdown of the criteria used to rank all states in the interactive Follow the Money Map.

PIRG's report arrives in the middle of Sunshine Week, the annual national review of open government. Locally, SW will be celebrated with a panel discussion at McGeorge School of Law on March 23. See also The Bee's story advancing Sunshine Week and profiling area activists who have championed open meetings and records.

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About The Public Eye

Welcome to The Bee's newest blog: Public Eye. In the coming months, you will see us breaking news here as well as following up on investigations we have published with tidbits, news breaks and behind-the-scenes descriptions of our news-gathering process. Know of a wrong we could right? Send our fraud squad your tips at: fraudsquad@sacbee.com.

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