California Ranked Lowest in Government Data Access StudyElise Young
California, the U.S. state with the largest population and budget, offers the least website access to its government spending data, according to an analysis by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group.
Alaska and Idaho also got failing grades. New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie pledged unprecedented transparency, ranked 30th. Indiana provided the most information, and Oregon, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts also scored high with online disclosure of details on contracts, expenditures and economic-development subsidies, the report released yesterday found.
Last year was the first that all 50 states operated websites to make information on state spending accessible to the public, according to the non-profit group, which advocates for transparency in government. North Carolina and Colorado were among the 10 whose access improved the most since 2013.
California, with a proposed $106.8 billion annual budget, a record high, provided no ability to search contracts and expenditures by recipient, keyword or agency. On economic development, it had no web-based detail on areas including projected and actual public benefits, tax-expenditure reports and recouped funds.
Michael Liang, a spokesman for the California Department of General Services, said in an e-mail that the state ``deserves more credit for the breadth of contract data'' that it makes available on a website, http://www.dgs.ca.gov/pd/Programs/eprocure.aspx.