The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

March 15, 2012
California state government earns 'D-' for transparency

California has received a "D-" for spending transparency from an organization that lobbies for governement openness.

The California Public Interest Research Group and its national counterpart, USPIRG, issued the grade on Wednesday, just days after another government transparency advocate rated the state's Internet portal among the nation's best for access to information.

The assessment of California's accessibility is part of a larger USPIRG study of all 50 states' government websites, "Following the Money 2012: Online Access to Government Spending Data."

California's poor showing comes in the middle of "Sunshine Week," a national initiative to highlight the importance of open government and freedom of information. Only six states ranked scored worse: New Hampshire, Wyoming, Iowa, Arkansas, Montana and Idaho.

In a statement accompanying the report's release on Wednesday, CalPERG took California to task for dismantling a state spending transparency website last year. The administration said at the time that transparency.ca.gov -- which was launched by former GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- duplicated information available elsewhere online.

Top-ranking states, according to the USPIRG report, include Texas, Kentucky and Indiana.

Wednesday's report contrasts sharply with a recent assessment by the nonprofit Sunshine Review, which ranked the Golden State's ca.gov website among the nation's best government websites for access to information.

CALPIRG belongs to national network of groups that promote themselves as public advocates.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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