New Jersey received a “C+” for online transparency of state government spending, according to a report by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG).

The state received the same grade last year, which was a welcomed increase from the previous year’s “F” ranking.

“New Jersey had been one of the states that made the most progress last year, but falls short in becoming a leader in transparency,” said NJPIRG’s Jennifer Kim.

Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data compiled its rankings based on an inventory of the content and accessibility of states’ transparency web sites.

New Jersey received maximum points for having a checkbook-level web site that can be easily searched by vendor, agency or department.

However, New Jersey lost points by not having copies of contracts or detailed summary information included in the expenditure information.

“States with higher scores have easy-to-find, comprehensive tax expenditure reports from the last couple of years for the sales, property and income tax spending,” explained Kim.

The report described New Jersey as an “emerging state.”

Kim said, “Given our state budget problems, New Jerseyans need to be able to follow the money.”

She also said putting spending information online helps hold the government accountable.

According to NJPIRG, there has been remarkable progress across the country with new states providing online access to government spending information and several states pioneering new tools to further expand citizens’ access to the information.

Still, more than 20 states scored below New Jersey.