Under the Dome

NC state government gets poor marks for budget transparency

North Carolina has received a “D” when it comes government spending transparency, according to a new report by a public interest group.

The state received a poor grade compared to other states based on an inventory of the content and ease-of-use of states' transparency websites.

“Following the Money 2013: How States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data is the fourth annual report by the NCPIRG Education Fund.

The group offered grades to each states ranging from “A” to “F.''

The leading states with the most comprehensive transparency websites are Texas, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Oklahoma.

The worst states were North Dakota, California, Hawaii, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Rhode Island and Montana.

The state's “NC Open Book'' website provides checkbook-level spending provides information on contracts and grants. However, according to the report, it lacks detailed information in other areas such as economic development tax credits and non-contract payments to vendors, as well as descriptions of projected and achieved benefits of economic development subsidies.

"State government across the country have become more transparent about where public money goes, providing citizens with the information they need to hold elected officials and businesses that receive public funds accountable," aid Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst with the group. "But North Carolina still has a long way to go.''

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