News Release

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Michelle Surka,
U.S. PIRG

U.S. PIRG statement on 100+ Ohio Localities Disclosing Spending Data on State’s Transparency Website

For Immediate Release

“U.S. Public Interest Research Group commends the Treasurer of the state of Ohio for enhancing government budget openness by making it easy for localities to post their spending data online. We hope the first 100 localities that have responded to the invitation will be just the beginning.”

“Americans often relate most to their local government, and most directly feel the effects of spending on infrastructures and services at the local level. It will help residents feel greater confidence in their local governments if they can follow the money through an easily accessible website.”

OhioCheckbook.com earned the top score in U.S. PIRG’s annual “Following the Money” report, which grades state budget transparency sites on their comprehensiveness and accessibility. Ohio, which in 2014 earned a “D-“, received an “A+” in 2015, the highest grade ever given to a state. The site is not only comprehensive in the budget information it provides, from a checkbook level look at expenditures to data about tax subsidies, but it is also user friendly.

“In order to continue to develop ever-greater transparency, the localities that are now included on Ohio’s website should also give citizens access to the spending of off-budget agencies, like water boards, and should provide information about tax expenditures, like property tax exemptions for businesses.

“We’re thrilled to see that Ohio’s top-flight budget transparency website has expanded to include information on the local level. Residents deserve to know how tax dollars are spent on contracts, subsidies or other spending at all levels of government. We hope other states will follow this lead in helping localities achieve greater transparency.”

You can read U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s report Following the Money: How the 50 States Rank in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data here (link).

 

For more about local budget transparency efforts, read U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s report Transparency in City Spending (link).

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