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NJ Gets “C+” for Transparency of Government Spending

The Garden State received a grade of “C+” for its online access to government spending data, in a report released today by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group (NJPIRG).

Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data issued New Jersey the same grade as last year. In 2010, New Jersey received a failing grade.

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Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media

“State governments across the country continue to be more transparent about where the money goes, extending checkbook-level disclosure of data on spending to contracting, tax subsidies, development incentives and other expenditures,” said Jen Kim, Advocate at NJPIRG. “New Jersey has made it out of the Stone Age, but there’s still much more that can and should be done to improve transparency.”

New Jersey lost points by not having copies of contracts or detailed summary information included in the expenditure information. The state also did not receive full credit for their tax expenditure reports. States with full scores had easy-to-find, comprehensive tax expenditure reports from recent years for the sales, property, and income taxes.

New Jersey did receive full points for having a checkbook-level website that can be easily searched by vendor name, keyword or activity, or agency or department.

Officials from New Jersey and 46 other states provided the researchers with feedback on their initial evaluation of state transparency websites. The leading states with the most comprehensive transparency websites are Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Arizona.

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