Texas ranks first in the nation when it comes to government spending transparency, according to the latest report released by the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG).
Each year, TexPIRG officials release a report in its Following the Money series: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data. The report is in its third year.
The Texas Comptroller’s Office is responsible for operating the state’s transparency portal. Researchers worked with officials from 46 other states in ranking their transparency sites.
Texas received 98 points out of 100 in the scoring. It lost one point for failing to list the purpose of individual state programs that spend through the tax code and one point for failing to report on the outcomes generated by economic development incentives or grants.
“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,” says Ryan Pierannunzi, tax and budget associate with the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), which crunched the numbers for the report. “But Texas still has room for improvement.”
TexPIRG in Austin is affiliated with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group in Washington, D.C.
In the past, the public interest group criticized Texas for its lack of transparency, particularly in state programs for creating private toll roads and dispensing subsidies.
The Following the Money 2012 report listed Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Arizona as the leading states with the most comprehensive transparency Web sites.