Cities Graded on Transparency reports Digital Server
The report card looks good for NYC, SF, Chicago, with each receiving an A grade
A report that was published this week by U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has examined government spending transparency. Within that report, the group grades 30 cities on just how well the “checkbook level” is in regards to information made available online. The study, which is the first of its kind to assess local government transparency, discovered that not all cities are created equal in this regard.
A full 17 of the 30 governments provided public spending data online, which was typically found via searchable database. The remaining 13 cities had not yet established any such databases for maintaining vendor payments, subsidies, and other expenditures. Of the cities looked over, only five made online copies available regarding city contracts, while five separate cities disclosed individual tax subsidies that were rewarded.
“How governments spend the public purse is something people should have easy access to,” said Phineas Baxandall, a PIRG senior analyst who co-authored the report. “Transparency is really important for good fiscal management and checking against corruption so citizens can feel confident in how their governments spend tax dollars.”
The report by PIRG gave its highest marks to “My Money NYC” Web portal, which had been re-launched this week with dashboards for over 100 agencies. Other government transparency websites list on the contract amounts, by NYC posts actual dollars dispersed, enabling citizens to look through and detect cost overruns.
Chicago and San Francisco joined New York City for the most applauded and transparent cities. Baltimore and Cincinnati both were given a B+ mark out of an A-through-F ranking. Denver, San Antonio, District of Columbia, all had a B grade.
Atlanta, Detroit, St. Louis, Sacramento, and Cleveland all were given Fs, and were below 50 out of 100 on the grading scale. Boston, Portland, Riverside, and Minneapolis escaped the dreaded F with still pathetic D- grades.
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