Ouch. The U.S. Public Interest Group has graded all 50 states on government transparency. And Vermont is near the bottom of the barrel with a ‘D-’, according to the authors of “Following the Money 2012.”
Government here lacks the kind of “online transparency portals” through which modern-day bureaucracies ought to be transmitting data to the public, the study says.
In states with high marks, those portals offer a clear view of “the state’s checkbook – who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes.”
In the 10 states that received Ds, the study says, “online checkbooks are difficult to use,” and “rarely provide spending details for off-budget agencies, post information on state revenue foregone through tax expenditures, or link to city and county expenditure sites.”
The Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Office has worked in recent years to bolster transparency around the issue foregone revenue inVermont. Exemptions and tax loopholes, the JFO has found, amount to more than $1 billion annually. But apparently the analysts’ work isn’t as detailed or searchable yet as USPIRG thinks it should be.
New Hampshire, Maine and Rhode Island also got stuck with D-minuses. Massachusetts earned an A- for having a “user-friendly” portal with “comprehensive information on government expenditures.” New York got a B+.